Iowa State University
Professor Kan Wang graduated with her BS in Biochemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She was sponsored first by the Chinese government then by the Rockefeller Foundation to conduct graduate study under the supervision of Drs. Marc Van Montagu (2013 World Food Prize Laureate) and late Jeff Schell in Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, the first group that discovered and engineered Agrobacterium tumefaciens for plant genetic transformation. Her PhD study and postdoctoral research were focused on the molecular mechanisms of the T-DNA transfer from Agrobacterium tumefaciens to plant cells. She is regarded as one of the pioneers in understanding the mechanism of DNA transfer from Agrobacterium to plants (Wang et al., Cell, 1984; Science 1987), a fundamental knowledge that became the corner stone for building of tools for plant genetic transformation. Dr. Wang spent 7 years in ICI seeds (now Syngenta) as a project leader in genetic transformation of corn and soybean. In 1996, she took a position at Iowa State University and established the first public crop transformation facility, which provides genetic transformation services of corn, soybean, and rice for the research communities. Her current research interests include exploring novel plant genetic transformation and genome editing technologies, investigating CRISPR off-target activities and understanding the functional roles of Agrobacterium non-coding RNAs.
Dr. Wang is a Global Professor of Biotechnology in the Department of Agronomy, and Co-Director of the Crop Bioengineering Center at Iowa State University. Dr. Wang was the winner of 2015 Iowa Women of Innovation Awards for Research Innovation and Leadership for her soybean transformation method. This invention also earned her 2017 Iowa State University Award for Achievement in Intellectual Property. Dr. Wang is a fellow for the Society of In Vitro Biology.