Friday May 26, 2-3pm

Join us each month as plant science and conservation efforts are presented by San Diego Botanic Garden’s staff, colleagues, and guest speakers.

This month we will feature SDBG Research Associate, Pieter van Rooyen, Ph.D.

While growing up in South Africa, Pieter developed a love for the outdoors. After traveling extensively throughout the African continent, including mountain biking the approximately 8,000 miles from Cairo to Cape Town, he developed a love and deep appreciation of Africa’s most iconic tree species, the mighty Baobab. Unfortunately, over the past several years, many of Africa’s largest Baobabs have suddenly started dying off after surviving for hundreds or thousands of years. Pieter helped start the Baobab Genome Project to potentially find a way to stop this from happening to the entire Baobab population – the trees not only form an important part of the African ecosystem but are also a valuable commercial plant for many thousands of African villages, as well as helping to form a natural barrier for the southern progression of the Sahara Desert. Pieter’s latest startup company, Pleno, is now developing technology that, among many other important applications, will soon likely help in this cause. Pleno’s instrument platform will make genomic profiling and the identification of biomarkers for trees with the best traits to survive in the current environment, incredibly cost effective, scalable and rapid. This will allow researchers working on the Baobab Genome Project to expand their current work in a way that is currently unachievable. Hopefully, this can help to make the discoveries and drive the solutions needed to save this important and iconic species.

Cost: Free with Garden admission.

Class format: In person, indoors

Please register by May 25, walk-ins welcome, space permitting.