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SDSU experts contribute to September Biotech Summit

South Dakota State University President David Chicoine and five faculty and staff members have been invited to present at the third annual South Dakota Biotechnology Summit in Sioux Falls, Wednesday, Sept. 10.

The summit is open to the general public and will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Ramkota Inn Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls. This year’s theme is “Investing in Biotechnology for Life, Food and Energy.”

President Chicoine is the plenary speaker giving an overview of SDSU’s future research and development plans.

Other Brookings scheduled presenters include a representative from BIOSPACE; Chris Mateo of Rural Technologies, Inc.; David Francis of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Vaccinology; William Gibbons of the 2010 Center for Bio-Processing & Research Development; and Denny Otsuga, SDSU’s director of technology transfer. They each will speak on subjects from bio-energy to intellectual property.

“SDSU’s place in biotechnology spans agricultural biotechnology, medical biotechnology through our veterinary science program and industrial biotechnology,” said Kevin Kephart, SDSU’s vice president for research and advisor to the South Dakota Biotech Association board of directors.

“SDSU’s very involved in biotechnology, particularly going from the agricultural production of switchgrass and corn to its conversion into biofuels,” Kephart said.

Biotechnology typically involves genetic manipulation of living organisms or their components to produce useful, usually commercial, products.

Three years ago, SDSU was one of the state Biotech Association’s founders and, according to Kephart, plans to continue to take an active role in future summits and activities.

“It is no secret that our educational institutions like SDSU produce the next generation of highly trained and skilled workers,” commented Biotech Association executive director Jeremy Freking.

“Our association wants to help create new opportunities for them right here in South Dakota by keeping our number one asset: our people,” Freking concluded.

The annual summit does that by gathering industry representatives, educators, businesspeople, legislators and the general public every year to share ideas, listen to plans and simply interact with one another to increase South Dakota’s visibility in biotechnology.

“The South Dakota Biotech Association wants to be the bridge between private sector biotechnology companies, our state research institutions and state government bioscience initiatives,” explained Freking.

“By gathering everyone together, we can plant the seeds of future opportunities and growth for South Dakota.”

More information on the S.D. Biotech Association and an early registration form for the summit are available at <>.