Trait Development Director, Genus plc

Dr. Mark Cigan is currently Trait Development Director at Genus R&D and leads research which uses gene editing and associated technologies to improve animal health and production in livestock.

Prior to joining Genus, Mark was at DuPont Pioneer focusing early in his career on plant reproduction to develop genetic solutions for the generation of hybrid seed. As Senior Research Manager, Mark led the Genome Modification group at Pioneer. Using multiple gene editing platforms (SSI, meganucleases and CRISPR-Cas), and integrating molecular biology, next generation sequencing, plant transformation and biochemistry, Mark’s team was seminal in advancing the editing and insertion of plant genes for commercial applications to increase productivity and yield in maize, sorghum, wheat and soybean.

Mark has authored more than 40 science publications, has collaborated with labs in the United States, Europe and Australia that focused on aspects of reproductive biology and genome modification and an inventor on over 30 US and International granted patents. Mark served on the Maize Genetics Steering Committee, has been an invited reviewer for NSF grants, state grants and manuscript submissions, and invited speaker at plant and animal conferences. Mark’s research interests include the central role of RNA in biochemical processes and developmental biology.

Mark holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and earned his doctoral degree in Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University, Chicago. After graduating, Mark focused his postdoctoral research on the regulation of protein synthesis in yeast as a National Research Council Fellow at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.