Benson Hill Honors Scientist Bob Koester with the Mockler Innovator Award

Benson Hill, an agricultural technology company specializing in unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, has recently bestowed its second annual Mockler Innovator Award upon Bob Koester, who serves as the Director of Breeding and Trait Introgression at Benson Hill. Established in January 2023 in memory of the company’s late co-founder Todd Mockler, PhD, this esteemed accolade recognizes a technology leader’s substantial contributions to Benson Hill through inventive problem-solving, scientific prowess, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Jason Bull, Chief Technology Officer at Benson Hill, remarked, “Todd’s legacy embodies an enduring curiosity for the natural world and a dedication to harnessing plant science and data science to address significant challenges, and Bob’s recent accomplishments reflect those principles. Bob’s fervor, ingenuity, and commitment to enhancing our breeding programs with advanced data science have been revolutionary, directly resulting in the swift introduction of innovative feed and food products into the market.”

Over his tenure of 7 years at Benson Hill, Koester has consistently demonstrated a dedication to advancing his scientific knowledge and agricultural technology. Initially joining as a crop physiologist in the corn program, Koester swiftly expanded his influence and responsibilities. Presently, he oversees Benson Hill’s Breeding and Trait Introgression teams, which are pivotal to the company’s mission of leveraging genomics to develop superior feed and food products. His recent overhaul and enhancement of the company’s soybean breeding and trait integration program utilizing predictive analytics have accelerated product development, enhanced risk management, and increased operational efficiencies.

Expressing his gratitude for the award, Koester stated, “It is truly humbling to be recognized with this award, which is deeply rooted in Benson Hill’s ethos. I’ve always admired Todd’s ability to translate scientific innovations in plant science into tangible business solutions. It is this application of science to address real-world challenges that inspires me in my work.”

Koester earned his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research, spanning his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri and his time as a graduate research assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has contributed to understanding crop responses to climate change and optimizing light interception and energy conversion in soybeans.

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