Skip to content

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., December 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Symbiota™, pioneer of plant microbiome solutions that naturally promote plant health and improve agricultural production, today announced the key addition of Dr. Roger Beachy to its board of directors.

“We are thrilled to have a world renowned leader in plant and agricultural sciences join the Symbiota team,” said Dr. Robert Berendes, Symbiota’s Executive Chairman and Venture Partner at Flagship Ventures. “Roger’s scientific depth, creativity, and vision will be a great benefit as we continue to advance our breakthrough microbiome platform and pipeline of product candidates toward commercialization.”

Symbiota has developed the first systematic approach to improving the natural microbiome residing within plant tissues in order to improve crop performance and yield under severe climatic, soil, and biotic stresses. The company’s product pipeline includes candidates that benefit corn, soy, wheat, cotton and selected vegetables.

“Symbiota’s groundbreaking technology and insights into the role of plant microbiomes in plant growth and development are truly unique in agriculture,” said Dr. Beachy. “Symbiota’s potential to positively impact global food production and address agricultural challenges is tremendous, and I am excited to be part of this innovative company.”

“Our approach to restoring a healthy microbiome in crops is built on a powerful foundation of plant and microbiome sciences and is delivering game-changing yield benefits,” said Dr. Geoffrey von Maltzahn, President and Co-Founder of Symbiota and Partner at Flagship VentureLabs. “Roger provides a terrific addition to our Board as we lead this new field of symbiotic agriculture.”

Dr. Beachy is founding director of the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis and President Emeritus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. He was founding Executive Director and former CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security in 2013. In 2009 he was appointed by President Obama as the first director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), where he served until 2011. During his tenure at NIFA, he presided over the establishment of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the federal government’s primary agriculture-focused investigator-initiated grants program. He also served as Chief Scientist at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) from January through October 2010. Dr. Beachy was a 2001 recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture.

Dr. Beachy headed the Division of Plant Biology at The Scripps Research Institute from 1991 to 1998. He was also Professor and Scripps Family Chair in Cell Biology and Co-Director of the International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology at Scripps. From 1979 to 1991, he was a biology faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, and served as director of the university’s Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology.

He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Academy of Science of St. Louis. He also is a Foreign Associate in the National Academy of Sciences India and The Third World Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Beachy received a BA in biology from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana and a PhD in Plant Pathology from Michigan State University.

About Symbiota

Symbiota™ is pioneering plant microbiome solutions that naturally promote plant health and improve agricultural production by harnessing the beneficial microbes that reside within plants. By unlocking the power of the plant microbiome, Symbiota is developing products that form unique partnerships with crops to naturally protect plant health and promote yield. Founded by the Flagship Ventures innovation foundry, VentureLabs, Symbiota has built the first platform for product discovery and generated a large pipeline of candidates in globally important crops, including corn, soy, wheat, cotton and vegetables. For more information, please visit