01 November, 2020

Synomics Appoints Former Chief Scientific Officer as Executive Chairman

Article overview

Synomics, the biological insights business, and part of the Wheatsheaf Group, has appointed agricultural industry veteran and former Genus Chief Scientific Officer Dr Jonathan Lightner as Executive Chairman.

An acknowledged expert in plant science, and with a PhD from Washington State University, Jon took up a post-doctoral role with chemical giant DuPont, working on new technology to make healthier seed oils. His tenure with the company enabled him to build a reputation as one of the foremost specialists in seeds and early genomic technology aimed at revolutionising the commercial seed business.

After 25 years working with plants, Jon joined Genus as Chief R&D and Scientific Officer in 2013 to progress the use of genetics in improving animal health and productivity, an expertise he looks forward to utilising at Synomics. Alongside his long career in genomics, Jon is also a farmer himself and will bring his knowledge of field and farm to producers who look to utilise the Synomics’ combinatorial analytics platform.

Jon says his appointment as Executive Chairman comes at an exciting time in the industry: “We’ve moved from an era in the 1990s of discovering a single gene to now being able to trivially sequence full genomes, but where we’ve fallen short is in understanding how we can turn all of that additional data into meaningful biological insight. Accumulating data is not enough; we need to ask questions of it, and answer them,” he explains.
“Synomics has a genuinely unique technology that will allow it to unlock the next wave of improvements in genetics and genomes and make positive changes in the food system. We can be a catalyst and enabler of positive change.”

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