#019 – Who’s Afraid of Biotech? With CS Prakash

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Our guest is CS Prakash

Dr. Channapatna S. Prakash is Dean, College of Arts and Sciences at Tuskegee University. He has served at Tuskegee University since 1989. Globally renowned for his advocacy and outreach on agriculture and science issues, his current research interest is on genomics of crop plants. His group has earlier studied transgenic plants, gene expression, tissue culture and plant genomics and also led the development and biosafety testing of transgenic sweetpotato plants, establishment of biosafety guidelines in Ghana (with Dr. Egnin), first to identify genomic variation among cultivated peanut, and development of genetic map of cultivated peanut (with Dr Guohao He). His papers, especially on peanut genetic markers, are among the most cited from Tuskegee University. His annual workshop on crop genomics at TU, conducted along with Dr. Jackson, targets high school students and teachers. Dr. Prakash has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and masters in genetics from India and Ph.D. in forestry/genetics from the Australian National University, Canberra. Dr. Prakash recently received the prestigious Borlaug CAST Communication Award from the Council on Agricultural Science and Technology for his lifetime contribution to agricultural science communication. 

Dr. Prakash has played a key role in enhancing the societal awareness of food biotechnology issues around the world and instrumental in catalyzing the scientific community in many countries to be more proactive in the biotechnology debate. A popular speaker, he has delivered more than 500 scientific and public lectures in 70 countries, including locales such as UN, US Congress, FAO, Alexandria Library, Aspen Ideas Festival, World Food Prize and the Vatican (where he recently met the Pope Francis). As a result of his social media efforts, Huffington Post recognized him recently as ‘among the Top 30 social influencers in biopharma and biotech’. Dr. Prakash’s contribution to ag biotech outreach has been recognized time and again, including by the magazine Progressive Farmer who conferred him ‘Man of the Year’ award for service to Alabama Agriculture. He was named one of a dozen ‘Pioneers, Visionaries and Innovators behind the progress and promise of plant biotechnology’ by the Council for Biotechnology Information; and chosen as one of the “100 Top Living Contributors to Biotechnology” (2005) .

He has received Faculty Performance Award at Tuskegee University (1994), a commemorative award from U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and recognized by the President of Zambia (2010). He has also received the Morrison-Evans Outstanding Scientist Award, presented by the Association of 1890 Research Directors, as well as the Kalpavriksha Award in Mysore, India.

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