URI molecular biologist to discuss agricultural biotechnology

MEDIA CONTACT: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

URI molecular biologist to discuss
agricultural biotechnology
Talk is part of URI’s ongoing
Honors Colloquium series on genetics

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 29, 2002 — Albert Kausch, professor of molecular biology and adjunct professor of plant sciences at the University of Rhode Island, will address the controversies involving the development and marketing of genetically modified organisms on Nov. 5. His talk “Agricultural Biotechnology: The Future is Now” will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center. The talk, free and open to the public, is part of URI’s semester-long Honors Colloquium “Genetic Technology and Public Policy in the New Millennium.”

Kausch, an inventor or co-inventor on more than 16 U.S. patents in plant biotechnology, is also the director of research for HybriGene LLC, a local company that creates new types of turf grass through genetic modification. He has developed several active research collaborations worldwide. In addition, Kausch is one of the co-founders of Ig Tech, Inc., a biotechnology start-up company focused on the production of animal health care products.

After completing his doctoral degree in molecular cellular developmental biology at Iowa State University (1983), Kausch accepted a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at The Rockefeller University working on early agrobacterium-mediated transformation of tobacco, light regulated gene expression and chloroplast protein targeting. The work was done in collaboration with a Belgium researcher’s laboratory, and resulted in several landmark publications and three significant international patents.

Kausch then joined the plant molecular biology group at Pfizer, Inc. and later, DeKalb Genetics Corp. During that time, he played a key role in the development of the first genetically engineered corn plants. He then conducted research on drought tolerance and gene regulation in transgenic maize.

Kausch has maintained several active academic commitments throughout his full-time employment in his various industry positions. He has taught at Mount Holyoke College, the University of New Hampshire, University of Connecticut, Connecticut College, and URI. He has authored or co-authored numerous research papers, book chapters, and review articles. Kausch has also been developing modular educational materials in genetics for grades K-12.

Major sponsors for the colloquium series are URI’s Honors Program, The URI Foundation, Theta Chi Fraternity, The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and the URI President’s Office. Additional sponsors include URI’s Offices of the Provost and the dean of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, Student Entertainment Committee, the Multicultural Center, the John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, the URI Alumni Association, the Department of Communications/News Bureau and Matritech.

For more information, contact the Honors Program, 401-874-2303.