Todd Mockler

Ph.D., Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Co-Founder and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board

Benson Hill was founded on breakthrough science, a spirit of innovation, and a lot of grit and teamwork. That’s what our co-founder Todd represented. His vision and commitment fueled our journey, from the early days of raising capital, to ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange, to serving as Chair of our Scientific Advisory Board. He made the work we do and the impact we have the privilege to make possible, and his scientific curiosity will continue to inspire us.


Todd was a recognized expert in functional genomics, bioinformatics, and plant systems biology and was focused on accelerating discovery and development by more accurately predicting plant performance.

He built capabilities and toolsets that manipulated gene regulation, enabled the study of cascades of ‘omics data in a synthesized manner, and used a range of environmental conditions to improve predictive outputs. Todd joined the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in 2011, where he maintained his role as a faculty member until his passing. His lab utilized several C3 and C4 plants and model grass systems in its functional and comparative genomics studies. To improve existing predictive modeling capabilities, Todd led an effort to define, characterize and perturb key transcriptional regulatory networks directly relevant to plant responses to stresses and performance (yield, growth). He also established a high-throughput digital phenotyping platform to empower trait discovery in monocots. Todd maintained an Adjunct faculty role in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and an Adjunct Faculty position at the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri until his passing. Prior to joining the Danforth Center, he was an Associate Professor at Oregon State University and a member of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing and the Computational and Genome Biology Initiative, as well as the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. Todd was a postdoctoral associate at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, after earning his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of California – Los Angeles and his B.A. in Molecular Biology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

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