Molly Jahn


Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Molly Jahn is a Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, and Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Sustainability Sciences.  She has had a distinguished research career in plant genetics, genomics and plant breeding of vegetable crops focusing on molecular genetics of disease resistance and quality traits.  Her research groups at UW Madison and Cornell University have produced crop varieties now grown commercially and for subsistence on six continents under approximately 60 active commercial licenses.  She has also worked extensively in developing countries to link crop breeding with improved human nutrition and welfare.  Her innovative approaches to inter-sector partnerships, engagement with emerging institutions, and integrated projects focused on impact and technology transfer have been highlighted in numerous studies and books.  She has consulted widely in the private sector, and has served as an advisor for philanthropic interests, venture capital and finance, First Nations, and U.S and foreign governmental agencies in agriculture, food security, life and environmental sciences.

Dr. Jahn has numerous publications, lectureships, and awards for her research, teaching, outreach and extension.  In 2011, she was selected to represent the U.S. on a 13 member high level International Commission for Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change.  She serves on a number of boards including The National Academies of Science/National Research Council’s Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Board on Environment and Society.  She chairs the DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorates Scientific Advisory Committee. She is a founding Editor in Chief of the open content journal Agriculture and Food Security and served as Co-editor and Member of the Executive Committee of Plant Cell, the highest impact journal in the plant sciences. She has served as USAID Scientific Liaison Officer and Member of the Board of Directors for The World Vegetable Center, World Dairy Expo, and founded and directed the Public Seed Initiative, the Organic Seed Partnership, the Wisconsin Animal Agriculture Sustainability Initiative and the National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture.  In 2006, she was named a Fellow of the AAAS.  She previously served as Dean of the UW Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station from 2006-2011.  During Jahn’s deanship, extramural funding in the college nearly doubled, and funding for several major college facilities was secured including the Wisconsin Energy Institute for sustainable and renewable energy research. In 2009-10, she was called to Washington to provide interim leadership as Deputy and Acting Under Secretary in the mission area of Research, Education and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  She holds an Adjunct Professorship at Seoul National University.

She received the BA with distinction in biology from Swarthmore College and holds graduate degrees from MIT and Cornell University.

Link: Molly Jahn's Website