Discovering the language
of plants

A Center for Transformative Communication
with Plants and Their Microbiomes

Welcome to CROPPS, the Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems. Our mission is to develop groundbreaking tools to listen and talk to plants and the associated organisms that make up their microbiomes. We will invent technologies that enable scientific discoveries about plant biology, and create a transformative framework—the Internet of Living Things (IoLT)—that will revolutionize crop performance in the field, with long-term impacts on sustainability, productivity, and profitability.

CROPPS will generate foundational discoveries through interactive, experimental designs and prototype translational solutions for improved crop performance. Our approach, coupled with the IoLT framework, defines a new transdiscipline—digital biology—with powerful, broad implications for plant science, agriculture, and other domains of the life sciences. At the same time, our dedication to ethical, inclusive science and food systems means that we welcome and actively support students and young professionals from underrepresented minority communities to participate in and contribute to our mission.

With science, innovation, and inclusivity as our foundation, CROPPS is poised to provide powerful solutions and transdisciplinary breakthroughs to ensure a healthy future for our planet and its inhabitants.

Research Focus Areas

Plant Innovations

Exploration of plant biotechnology, engineering of materials, devices, and automation, and computational biology.

Plant Communications

Uniting many CROPPS disciplines, iTOC sheds light on the many processes that define plant function. 

Plant Systems

The DEEPFIND team aims to realize the vision of an Internet of Living Things which will allow interaction with the deep biology of plant systems.

Social and Ethical Engagement

Social scientists will engage participants from across CROPPS disciplines to study and inform the center’s research processes, from visioning through execution.

Our Team

Our transdisciplinary team is made up of experts in plant sciences, engineering, computer science, and the social sciences. They represent Cornell University, the Boyce Thompson Institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Arizona.

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Our Partners