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Iowa Corn Staffer Named to North American Plant Phenotyping Network Executive Board page banner

Iowa Corn Staffer Named to North American Plant Phenotyping Network Executive Board

February 9, 2018

Members of the North American Plant Phenotyping Network (NAPPN), an association representing major plant phenotyping centers across the continent, have elected Iowa Corn Technology Commercialization Manager David Ertl to the Executive Board. The goal of the NAPPN is to increase the visibility and impact of plant phenotyping and facilitate communication and cooperation within the plant phenotyping and related communities. Plant phenotyping is the process of measuring and analyzing observable plant characteristics. The organization represents scientists and researchers in the rapidly evolving area of plant phenomics, formed as a regional partner of the International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN). By bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders within the scientific community, the Network help farmers advance future corn traits and those of other crops.      

“I am honored to be one of three individuals representing industry elected to the North American Plant Phenotyping Network Executive Board,” said Ertl. “My highest priorities will be finding additional funding for expanding efforts of phenomics initiatives and to collaborate with other crops and to help broaden the Network to collaborate across disciplines and crops.” Ertl also serves on the Executive Committee for the Genomes to Fields Initiative, a public-private partnership building on publicly funded corn genome sequencing projects to identify key corn genetic traits that impact yield and the plant’s ability to respond to environmental conditions.

An important part of NAPPN mission is to broaden the phenotyping community across traditional disciplinary boundaries and promote best scientific practices through encouraging collaboration between this community and different stakeholders from academia, industry, and the public sector.

NAPPN will hold its next General Assembly at Phenome 2018 on February 14-17 in Tucson where the ad hoc Board will pass the torch to the newly elected Executive Board, who will outline next steps for the organization, including a discussion of the network’s provisional bylaws and a vision for the future.

Ertl has been on staff at Iowa Corn since 2011 where he manages contract research projects in both the public and private sectors. Projects include the areas of biotechnology trait development, phenotyping, genetics and genomics, corn production, biomass production, biofuels, biobased chemicals, and startup business ventures. 

Ertl’s responsibilities include developing new technology, obtaining intellectual property (patents) and out-licensing technology to commercial providers. Specific projects include developing new traits in the areas of nutrient use efficiency, and involvement with Genomes to Fields.

Previously, Ertl worked at DuPont Pioneer as a corn breeder and later as a research director. During his time there, he helped develop commercial corn hybrids and is an inventor on 15 patents. David holds a Ph.D. in plant breeding from Iowa State University. 


The NAPPN involves diverse stakeholders, including, but not limited to, researchers, developers, and consumers of phenotyping technologies across all organizational dimensions. To do so, NAPPN relies on and encourages open communication and welcomes participation by individuals from diverse backgrounds, areas of study, and organization types. Members share involvement and interest in plant phenomics and are welcome from all ranks and levels of training, stature, and expertise. For more information, go to nappn.plant-phenotyping.org.

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is an 8,000-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org.

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