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Purdue appoints inaugural Indiana Soybean Alliance Endowed Chair

Purdue agronomy professor Jianxin Ma has been named the first Indiana Soybean Alliance Inc. Endowed Chair in Soybean Improvement. The Indiana Soybean Alliance Inc. (ISA) established this chair to advance critical soybean research that would be both productive and progressive, specifically supporting the ISA Discovery Goal: Profits by Prescription that will include research in such areas as the creation of the genome-editing pipeline and the utilization of phenotyping.

Ma Jianxin “As a leader in the field of soybean genomics, Dr. Ma is at the cutting edge of expanding the value of Indiana soybeans while producing them with environmentally sustainable practices,” said ISA CEO
Courtney Kingery. “ISA established this endowed chair for soybean research because our mission is to bring value to Indiana farmers in a way that sustainably improves their yields and profitability. Dr. Ma’s work is critical to our goals of higher yields and responsible farming techniques.”

Bernie Engel, Purdue Agriculture’s senior associate dean for research and graduate education, said, “Dr. Ma is undoubtedly one of the best soybean geneticists in the country and has received international recognition for his innovative research. Among his many accomplishments are dissecting the genetic network underlying soybean agronomic traits and disease resistance and harnessing untapped genetic diversity from wild soybeans and relatives. He is extremely passionate about his work with Indiana soybean farmers.”

Denise Scarborough, a farmer from Lacrosse, Indiana, and the chair of the ISA’s Sustainability and Value Creation Committee, addressed the ISA Board of Directors’ commitment to the position.

“We believe that soybeans are a versatile crop that has proved its sustainability over the years. We are very optimistic with the future options of soybean uses,” Scarborough said. “ISA is committed to bringing value back to Hoosier farmers by investing in research that will lead to a more efficient crop with new uses across the state for decades to come. Investing in this chair strengthens the alignment between Purdue University and our organization. We are excited to see how Dr. Ma, and the researchers who follow him, impact Indiana agriculture.”

Ma, who is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has been honored by the Crop Science Society of America, spoke about how humbled he is by the ISA’s and Purdue’s belief and confidence in him and his research team’s work.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected for this endowed chair appointment, which represents a significant investment from all soybean farmers in Indiana,” he said. “Over the years, our soybean genetics research has been generously funded by the Alliance; this strong support will further enhance our capability to acquire new knowledge and translate it into innovative approaches and tools for soybean improvement that will increase farm profitability in Indiana and across the nation.”

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