Dan Voytas is a plant geneticist who is recognized for his contributions to the field of gene editing and its applications to plant biology and agriculture. Voytas helped develop a highly programmable gene editing reagent - Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs) - which proved effective in making targeted modifications to diverse eukaryotic genomes. Voytas was born in Oregon, and prior to college, lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota and New Hampshire. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1984 with an AB in biology. In 1990, he received his PhD in genetics with Fred Ausubel at Harvard Medical School, and he conducted postdoctoral research with Jef Boeke at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. There he was a fellow of the Life Science Research Foundation. In 1992, Voytas joined the faculty at Iowa State University and advanced through the academic ranks, becoming a full professor in 2001. In 2008, he joined the University of Minnesota's Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and from 2008 to 2018, he directed the University's Center for Genome Engineering. In 2018 Voytas was named a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and was appointed the founding Director of the Center for Precision Plant Genomics. Voytas is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
University of Minnesota