Syngenta celebrates distinguished 35-year career of Mary-Dell Chilton

· September 11, 2018

Syngenta celebrated the remarkable career of Mary-Dell Chilton recently during a recognition event at the Syngenta Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. At age 79, Chilton is retiring from the company, but her contributions to agriculture and humanity will endure for generations to come.

Chilton is widely recognized as a founder of modern plant biotechnology, after she and her research teams demonstrated that Agrobacterium is an effective vehicle for DNA transfer and produced the first transgenic plant. Her groundbreaking work in academia and the private sector ultimately led to the development and commercialization of biotech crops, which help farmers effectively manage damaging insects, disease complexes, weed pressure, and abiotic stress — resulting in greater yields, profitability, and efficiency.

“Few have made as indelible a mark on our industry and society as Mary-Dell Chilton,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of global seeds research, Syngenta. “Her curiosity, innovation and hard work helped usher in a new era in agriculture. During her 35 years with Syngenta and a legacy company, she shaped our biotech seeds research program into the robust R&D engine it is today, and she will forever be part of the Syngenta family.”

Chilton’s significant contributions to agriculture have resulted in numerous accolades, including the prestigious World Food Prize in 2013 — the definitive international award recognizing individuals who have “increased the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.”

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