About MPGI


The mission of the Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute (MPGI) is to promote advances in microbial and plant genomics, genomics-enabled science, and molecular genetics for the benefit of society. The Institute will accomplish this through research, educational and outreach activities that foster a multi-disciplinary interchange of ideas and cutting-edge technologies and their applications. Activities of the Institute will contribute to basic science and the translation of genomics for applications to the environment, agriculture, and human health. The Institute is a collaboration between the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.


Advances in genomics have already had major impacts on how we address modern scientific questions. This has led to an acceleration of knowledge acquisition and application to biological problems. The MPGI will play a major role in the future development of structural, functional, and translational genomics, by promoting partnerships with faculty contributing to biotechnology in diverse University departments, centers and institutes. Interactions will be further facilitated by a unified enhancement of instrumentation and a highly specialized bioinformatics capability. Moreover, the MPGI will play a leading role in the training of outstanding students and postdoctoral associates for the 21st century, and building public awareness about genomics and its applications in a social and ethical context.


1. Creating an interactive, multi-disciplinary environment that fosters communication among Institute members and colleagues. Activities supporting this goal include:

  • Colloquia by MPGI researchers to communicate research advances and approaches.
  • Genomics seminars that are co-sponsored with departments across the Twin Cities campuses.
  • An annual retreat for MPGI members and affiliates.
  • An Institute website and newsletter.
  • The Cargill Microbial and Plant Genomics Building is the focal location for the majority of MPGI activities; however, it is expected that these will occur in many departments and physical locations of the Twin Cities campus.

2. Providing interdisciplinary research support for genomics and molecular biology by:

  • Interacting with collegiate development offices to enhance support for MPGI.
  • Providing coordination and facilitation for high throughput instrumentation for analysis of genes and gene function.
  • Supplying financial support for shared equipment and student and research staff travel.
  • Facilitating submission of multi-investigator grants, contracts, and patent applications.

3. Promoting teaching and training activities related to genomics, bioinformatics, & molecular biology by:

  • Sponsoring lecture series, colloquia and symposia, including graduate level short courses on topical developments in microbial and plant genomics and molecular biology.
  • Providing financial support for undergraduates, graduate students and/or post-doctoral associates.
  • Facilitating and sponsoring genomics-related training grants.
  • Providing additional ethics training for students, postdocs, and faculty.
  • Sponsoring and coordinating seminars and workshops on genomics-related tools and technologies.
  • Partnering with university departments, centers, and institutes to promote literacy in bioinformatics, computational and quantitative biology, and their applications to microbial and plant biology.
  • Providing teaching and curriculum support for genomic and bioinformatic courses to enhance degree programs and continuing education.
  • Sponsoring internal and external outreach activities to acquaint the public with the societal impact, applications, and ethics of genomics.

4. Enhancing the scientific impact of the Institute through activities that reach the external community, such as by:

  • Creating a web portal for dissemination of information on MPGI research.
  • Hosting regional symposia related to the mission of the Institute.
  • Fostering cooperative activities with national and international societies and genome centers.
  • Promoting activities with regional and national biotechnology and genomics-based companies.

MPGI Steering Committee:

Brett Barney

Melania Figueroa

Jane Glazebrook

Candice Hirsch

Peter Kennedy

Jonathan Schilling

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