2010 BIO International Convention to Highlight Climate Change, Global Hunger and Public Perception of Agricultural Biotechnology

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, April 21, 2010) - The 2010 BIO International Convention will feature a robust food and agriculture program highlighting the biotechnologies that address global issues such as hunger and climate change as well as the role of policy in the public’s ability to benefit from these technologies. Hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Convention will be held May 3-6, 2010 in Chicago, Ill. at McCormick Place.

BIO will host a special media luncheon on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 featuring Dr. Channapatna S. Prakash, professor of plant molecular genetics at Tuskegee University, who will moderate a discussion on “When Politics Impedes Progress to Combat Hunger.”

Luncheon speakers are scheduled to include:
• Pam Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology and Chair of the Plant Genomics Program at the University of California, Davis, and author of the book, Tomorrow’s Table
• Michael Specter, New Yorker staff writer and author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives.
• Margaret Zeigler, deputy director of the Congressional Hunger Center.

“With biotechnology, we have the tools to address big global challenges like climate change and hunger,” said Dr. Prakash. “But, in too many cases, we’ve seen politics stand in the way. I am thrilled the BIO International Convention is providing us with an opportunity to discuss ways to overcome these hurdles.”

“At the 2010 BIO International Convention, individuals from academia, industry and government come together to address how to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems through agricultural biotechnology,” said Sharon Bomer, executive vice president of the Food and Agriculture Section at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. “This is the perfect time to address how, as an industry, we can ensure that existing and future technologies can be put to work to help the people who so desperately need them.”

On the exhibit floor, the Food and Agriculture Pavilion will demonstrate the benefits of plant biotechnology while attendees tackle the seed identification game.  Noted experts from academia and industry will be at the Pavilion for media interviews and to take questions from attendees, and Ambassadors from the Future Farmers of America will help guide visitors through the various exhibits and events.  Also on the exhibit floor, the BIO Booth will include an exhibit that showcases the benefits of genetically engineered livestock.

A sample of breakout sessions includes:  

Ethics and Biotechnology: Genetically Engineered Animals
This program will look at both the substance of ethical questions in genetically engineered animals as well as the process of ethical review.

Tuesday May 4, 2010, 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Speakers include: Jerry Pommer, Hematech, Inc; Margaret Foster-Riley, University of Virginia School of Law; Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California, Davis; and Paul Thompson, Michigan State University

Next-Generation Technologies—Current State and Outlook
This program will examine how plant transformation and genome modification technologies change the way agricultural crops are developed, how advanced are they now, and when the marketplace will see their benefits.

Tuesday May 4, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Speakers include: Neal Gutterson, Mendel Biotechnology; Sharon Berberich, Dow AgroSciences; Otto Folkerts, Chromatin, Inc; and Caius Rommens, J.R. Simplot

New GM Crops: Implications of Asynchronous Approval for International Trade
This session will discuss the commercialization of GM crops, “asynchronous approval” of crops across different countries and its potential impact on international trade.

Tuesday May 4, 2010, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Speakers include: Jack Bobo, U.S. Department of State; James Murphy. U.S. Trade Representative; Jim Borel, DuPont

How Public Perception Affects Adoption of Technologies that Help Feed the World
This panel will address the connection between public perception of technologies, such as agricultural biotechnology, and their adoption.

Wednesday May 5, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Speakers include: Sally Squires, Weber Shandwick; Michael Specter, The New Yorker; Margaret Zeigler, Congressional Hunger Center; Kenneth Kamiya, Hawaii Papaya Industry Association; Maywa Montenegro, Seed Magazine; and Bruce Chassy, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For detailed descriptions and a full program, please visit Members of the media can register at

The annual BIO International Convention helps to support the association’s programs and initiatives. BIO works throughout the year to create a policy environment that enables the industry to continue to fulfill its vision of bettering the world through biotechnology innovation. 

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Upcoming BIO Events

Partnering for Global Health
May 3, 2010
Chicago, IL
McCormick Place Convention Center

BIO International Convention
May 3-6, 2010
Chicago, IL
McCormick Place Convention Center

2010 BIO Human Resources Conference
May 4-7, 2010
Chicago, IL 

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing
June 27-30, 2010
Washington, DC

BIO India
September 21 - 22, 2010
Hyderabad, India


 BIO’s Livestock Biotechnology Summit
September 28-30, 2010,
Sioux Falls, SD

 About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.