Skip to main content

BTI name change reflects scope of discoveries, mission

David Stern
Will Thompson

The Cornell-affiliated Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research is shortening its name to the “Boyce Thompson Institute.”

The Boyce Thompson Institute’s foundation in basic plant science began in Yonkers, New York, in 1924. The decision to rename the institute reflects the reality that BTI discoveries have not been limited to plants.

“Today’s laboratories at BTI develop and employ techniques of chemistry, virology and bioinformatics that add dimension to our portfolio of plant science projects,” said David Stern, BTI president and CEO. “This adaptation of our name recognizes our connection to BTI’s past, while acknowledging the wide range of technologies and organisms used to make advances in BTI’s core areas of agriculture, human health and the environment.”

Will Thompson, founder of Boyce Thompson Institute, championed the study of plants.

“I want to do something to get at the bottom of the phenomena of life processes, and I think a good place to study them would be in the realm of plants,” Thompson once said. Since BTI’s founding, its researchers have worked to fulfill this mandate in the plant sciences, but have also branched into life sciences programs including insect cell culture, drug discovery and aging.

Boyce Thompson Institute maintains its strong commitment to education and to training the next generation of scientists. As research becomes increasingly interdisciplinary, the rebranding will encourage creativity and will expand the opportunities for funding, collaboration and training for scientists and students.

BTI employs 150 staff and has scientists from 40 countries. Its 15 principal investigators are leaders in plant development, chemical ecology, microbiology and plant pathology, and they have access to greenhouse facilities with computerized controls and a system of integrated pest management. BTI has one of the largest concentrations of plant bioinformaticists in the U.S., with researchers who work across the entire spectrum of “omics” fields. BTI researchers consistently receive funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy and publish in top-tier journals. Throughout its work, BTI is committed to inspiring and educating students and to providing advanced training for the next generation of scientists.

For more information, visit

Media Contact

Melissa Osgood