About Us

Revolutionizing Interactions Between Humans, Plants, and the Environment

The challenges facing crop production today require new ways of thinking about, studying, and relating to the plant world. At CROPPS we are creating an avenue for agricultural transformation and ecological preservation that relies on listening to and communicating with plants and the associated organisms that comprise their biomes.

Our vision combines the expertise of researchers from plant sciences, engineering, computer science, and the social sciences. Together they form an integrated approach to plant biological research and translation that is summed up in the new transdiscipline of digital biology.

Digital biology depends upon coordinated developments in multiple disciplines, including biotechnology, nanotechnology, automation, communications, and computer science. The synthesis of these developments will allow us to endow plants with the ability to communicate directly with the digital realm in an Internet of Living Things (IoLT). Through the IoLT, plants in the field will be able to tell us about their health, and their reproductive and growth potential, as it is unfolding, allowing discoveries that will define a future of more sustainable and productive agriculture.

Our Goals

  • To create an interdisciplinary community of researchers, educators, and stakeholders who will revolutionize interactions between humans, plants, and the environment.
  • To broaden participation in our mission and to benefit from the talent and wisdom of differing world views by offering students pathways into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and by providing sustained mentoring for students and young professionals from rural and underrepresented minority communities.
  • To educate students in the transdiscipline of digital biology by inspiring and empowering creative, productive thinking across disciplinary boundaries.
  • To build a research platform to discover how plants integrate multiple and diverse environmental signals across biological scales, and to generate insight into phenotype prediction of expressed traits.
  • To leverage emerging technologies and modeling approaches to create a two-way communication system with plants and to enable transformative biological discovery and translation, including rapid improvement of crop performance and agricultural management.

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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Advisory Board

External experts will consult with the CROPPS teams on strategic directions, and the management of the center to ensure that we are able to reach our goals.

The advisory board is still in development.

Diversity is a top priority at CROPPS.

Food systems touch everyone, from producers to consumers, across the full diversity of our nation and planet. We believe scientific discovery and innovation must engage this diversity to create successful, equitable outcomes in a complex, changing world.

To facilitate inclusiveness, we actively seek to recruit, retain, and fully engage people from underrepresented populations based on geography, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and gender. Our goal is to create a welcoming environment at CROPPS where all participants feel a sense of belonging. By reaching out in mentorship and informed conversation with underrepresented communities at all levels of society, we discover and appreciate the underlying social, ethical, and policy implications of our work.

Our Partners