The College of Arts and Sciences (ASC) and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), are partnering to create the Center for Applied Plant Sciences (CAPS). The development of new bioproducts and enhanced crop performance are among its priorities.
The new center will facilitate the translation, or connection, between basic research and applications in areas such as photosynthesis and carbon fixation, biomass and bioproducts, crop production enhancement, and plant-microbe interactions.
CAPS will support the work of interdisciplinary scientific teams with members from across the university. These teams will have access to research facilities, PhD students and graduate fellowships through the university’s new Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Plant Sciences (TPS), postdoctoral fellowships, and research seed grants.
“The main idea behind the work of CAPS is to tap into the incredible scientific expertise available at Ohio State,” said Erich Grotewold, director of the Center and professor in both the Department of Molecular Genetics (ASC) and the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science (CFAES).
“I envision these interdisciplinary teams building the kind of synergy that can take a very basic biological concept and translate it into an application that would be a practical solution to a problem. It could be a new plant-based industrial product or a food that helps prevent cancer.”
Although CAPS is a new center, its roots are in several earlier initiatives at Ohio State that sought to increase research work across disciplines and colleges.
These include the Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Program, which brought together scientists from both the Columbus and Wooster campuses; and the Translational Plant Sciences Targeted Investment in Excellence (TIE), which invested over $6 million in new faculty, equipment and fellowships to enhance the university’s reputation as a leader in the molecular plant sciences.
In its effort to bridge the gap between basic and applied research, CAPS will be working with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC), along with the Office for Energy and the Environment (OEE). The goal is to provide them with tools for commercialization of discoveries and, ultimately, economic development opportunities.