Danforth Center Announces New Director of Integrated Microscopy Facility

Facility to develop, integrate advanced imaging capabilities for plant science.


Newswise — ST. LOUIS, MO, June 11, 2019 – The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced today that

Kirk J. Czymmek, Ph.D., has joined the Center as the new Director of the Integrated Microscopy Facility and Principal Investigator. Czymmek succeeds R. Howard Berg who retired after 19 years in the role.

Czymmek is a reknowned expert in the field with over 30 years of advanced microscopy experience. He has expertise in light and electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, single molecule imaging, super-resolution microscopy, cryo-techniques and correlative microscopy.  Czymmek has over 95 refereed publications as his work has focused on developing and applying cutting-edge microscopy tools for imaging cells, tissues and biomaterials.

“Attracting Kirk Czymmek to the Danforth Center is a big win for us, for the plant scientists in the area, and for the innovation community in St. Louis,” said Jim Carrington, Ph.D, president of the Danforth Center. “He will build collaborative capabilities that enhance our efforts to figure out how plants work, and that help achieve our mission to improve the human condition through plant science.”

Most recently Czymmek served as Vice President of Global ZEISS Microscopy Customer Centers and oversight of eight customer centers and their teams world-wide. He joined the company in 2012 to build a world-class application, demonstration and training center for the ZEISS microscopy portfolio for North America. From 2000 to 2012 Czymmek was an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware (UD) where he worked to build an imaging capacity that led in 2001 to creation of the UD Bio-Imaging Center at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, where he served as Director. 

“Remarkable technological advances in imaging allow us to visualize unprecedented views of the inner workings of plants as well as their interactions with other organisms and the environment. Specifically, I plan to expand the capabilities of the Integrated Microscopy Facility to include high-resolution 3-D imaging at the nanoscale, single-molecule approaches, as well as automation and machine learning to enhance and accelerate our ongoing research efforts. Joining the Danforth Center, with an exceptional and dedicated support team and top-notch researchers, is the perfect setting to leverage these imaging advances to make new discoveries in plant science for the benefit of humankind,” said Czymmek.

Czymmek received his doctorate in the Department of Botany and Pant Pathology at Michigan State University in 1993 followed by a post-doctoral position at the DuPont Company in CR&D Plant Molecular Genetics group. Subsequently, he worked with Noran Instruments in the confocal business group as an applications scientist before joining the University of Delaware.  He has received many awards and honors for his achievements in the field.

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and through the support of individuals and corporations.

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