GrowNextGen industry leader

Zack Bateson

Research scientist at National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC)

Bateson does research and development of DNA-based tests for rapid detection of disease-causing pathogens in agriculture, which are often difficult to visually identify from symptoms. He also develops research projects to better understand how NAGC’s tests for various pathogens can help with disease management.

What is the benefit of collaboration between industry and education?
There is a severe lag time between the forefront of scientific discovery and textbooks. By severe, I mean it can take years before cutting-edge research makes it into the educational spotlight. This is especially true for any advancement in biotechnology, which proceeds at an exponential rate. I think that collaborations between industrial scientists and educators are important to reduce this lag time and bring transformative discoveries into classrooms. Ultimately, I hope these collaborations will help inspire a new generation of scientists, which are vital for solving tomorrow’s struggles in agriculture.

What value/assistance can you and your company provide to teachers and classrooms as they connect with you?
I am happy to lend my expertise in genetics to help with class lessons or provide additional materials related to pathogen diagnostics or bioinformatics. I would be willing to chat with teachers and their classes either in-person (locally) or virtually (Google Hangouts). NAGC is a diagnostic laboratory and anyone can submit samples for testing, provided we have a DNA test for the pathogen of interest! As a laboratory, we can also provide support for small science projects on ag-related diseases.