Mary-Dell Chilton, a Distinguished Science Fellow at SBI, began her corporate career in 1983 with the CIBA-Geigy Corporation (a legacy company of Syngenta). Her tenure has included both research and administrative roles, including Vice President, Agricultural Biotechnology. Her current research is directed to improving the technology for introducing new genes into plants.
While on faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri during the late 1970's and early 1980's, Dr. Chilton led a collaborative research study that produced the first transgenic plants. This pioneering work led directly to the field of genetic engineering of foods and plants. For this research, which became the foundation for many of the significant contributions plant biotechnology has made to agriculture today, Dr. Chilton was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences in 2002. The award, one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific awards, honors leading scientists, engineers and inventors who have transformed entire fields of knowledge through their scientific discoveries and technical innovations. Past laureates have included Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Pierre and Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking.
Dr. Chilton is author of more than 100 scientific publications. She has also received medals from the American Chemical Society and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In honor of her many achievements, in 2002, Syngenta announced creation of the Mary-Dell Chilton Center - a new administrative and conference center at SBI.