Born in S. Korea, Dr. Myeong-Je Cho obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy from Seoul National University. He received his Ph.D. in Soybean Physiology and Biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991 and did a postdoctoral study onSoybean Transformation/Molecular Biologyat the same University. Later he worked as a Specialist onCereal Transformation and Gene Expressionin Plant and Microbial Biology Department at University of California-Berkeley.
In 2001 Myeong-Je joined a biotech company, Byotix, Inc. in Richmond, CA, as a confounder and VP to lead the Plant Biotechnology and Genomics Programs. In 2004 he worked as a Research Scientist/Manager at DuPont-Pioneer for 11 years.He receivedfrom DuPont-Pioneer an Innovative Enabling Technology Award for Maize Inbred Transformation Development/Deployment, one of Ag Biotech (ABT) Achievement Awards (2010), an Outstanding Team Collaboration Award (ABT Achievement Awards) for Hybrid Wheat Platform Development (2013), and a Gene Dalton Evolution Impact Award for Maize Inbred Transformation (2014).Myeong-Je also workedas a Scientific Advisor/Consultant for several biotech companies and research institutes to help with technology/product development. He also served as an Honorary Scientist in Rural Development Administration for 8 years and as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Science at Seoul National University for 2 years.
He joined IGI in November 2016 and is currently the Director and PI of the Plant Genomics and Transformation Facility.He published 60 papers/4 book chapters and had 13 US patents issued and 9 pending regarding planttissue culture/transformation, gene expression, gene isolation/characterization and genome editing.
Research Programs for Genome Editing at IGI Plant Genomics
and Transformation Facility
Innovative Genomics Institute, 2151 Berkeley Way,
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
The Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) at University of California-Berkeley originally began as the Innovative Genomics Initiative in 2014 and officially re-launched in January 2017. The Institute’s research efforts are focused on four key CRISPR-related programs: (1) biomedicine, (2) agriculture, (3) microbiology and (4) society. The mission of the IGI is to develop and deploy genome engineering to cure diseases, ensure food security, and sustain the environment for current and future generations. In order to facilitate the progress in agriculture research, IGI launched the Plant Genomics and Transformation Facility (PGTF) in November 2016. I am currently leading the PGTF as the Director and Principal Investigator (PI). The mission of the PGTF is to (1) establish enabling technologies for CRISPR-Cas9 applications in target crop species, (2) generate events using genome editing of target traits in major crop species and (3) collaborate with other PIs/researchers. Plant transformation is an essential tool for genome editing and crop improvement. We have established efficient tissue culture/transformation protocols in wheat, rice, triticale, tomato, broccoli and tobacco. We are obtaining transgenic events in cacao and sunflower and have started working on cassava, soybean, pepper, quinoa, radish, maize and sugar pine. We are also establishing DNA-free plant genome-editing protocols using Cas9/gRNA ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) and a high-throughput molecular screening protocol for mutation identification. We have successfully demonstrated fungal disease resistance by CRISPR-derived mutations in wheat and produced M2/M3 progeny seed without the presence of transgenes. In addition, phenotype mutations were observed in rice. We are currently in collaboration with private and public sectors on several genome-editing projects.