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Where are they now? Harrison lab’s Nathan Pumplin engineers microbes for ag sustainability

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Interested in engineering microbes for more sustainable agriculture? If so, then Nathan Pumplin, scientist at Joyn Bio and 2010 graduate of Maria Harrison‘s research program, is well-positioned. Pumplin, whose thesis research focused on localization and functional studies of phosphate transporters in the legume Medicago truncatula, was hired by Joyn Bio in 2018 following postdoctoral research in the Voinnet lab at ETH Zurich and a brief period as project scientist at UC-Davis.

Joyn Bio was founded in 2017 as a joint venture of Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks. with the goal of applying advanced techniques in synthetic biology to enhance agricultural sustainability. The initial focus of the company is to improve microbes’ ability to provide cereal crops with nitrogen, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Pumplin comments, “In my current role with Joyn Bio, I have the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge gained from my PhD work in plant-microbe interactions to urgent challenges in agriculture.”

Read more about Joyn Bio’s founding

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