Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have an impact at the nexus of food security and the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science.



Our Mission

Improve the human condition through plant science

  • Feed the hungry and improve human health

  • Preserve and renew our environment

  • Enhance our region as a world center for plant science


Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization that focuses scientific research and innovation at the nexus of food security and the environment to increase agricultural productivity while preserving precious natural resources. The center and its partners aim to improve both the yield and quality of food, provide sustainable sources of energy and fuel economic growth for this and future generations.

  • More than 300 employees and 26 scientific teams with staff in more than 20 countries

  • Collaborative research projects across the globe

Research Areas

  • Metabolic Systems and Synthetic Biology

  • Biotic and Abiotic Interactions

  • Crop Improvement 

  • Sustainable Bioenergy

  • Genomics and Data Science

Research Institutes

Much of the practical translation and application of scientific discoveries is facilitated by two Danforth Center institutes.

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels

The Enterprise Rent-a-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels develops technology for next-generation feedstocks for transportation fuels that are more sustainable and higher in energy content.

The Institute for International Crop Improvement (IICI)

The Institute for International Crop Improvement is working to translate discoveries in plant health, disease and pest management, genomics, advanced breeding and nutrition, to staple crops that impact food security and are underserved by commercial agriculture.

Core Technologies

The Danforth Center’s Core Facilities accelerate discovery by providing scientists with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and technology with which to expand and attain their research endeavors.

Facilities include Data Science, Advanced Bioimaging, X-ray CT, Plant Phenotyping, Plant Growth, Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry, and Tissue Culture and Transformation.

Economic Development

The St. Louis region, as home to a rapidly growing plant and agricultural innovation community, has become a leading hub for the commercialization of plant science and related technologies.

The Danforth Center is located in 39 North, a 600-acre innovation district surrounding the Danforth Plant Science Center, BRDG Park, Helix Incubator, Yield Lab and Bayer Crop Science. Center leadership is actively involved in the implementation of the 39 North strategic master plan that was announced in 2016. By connecting regional assets, improving mobility, creating development opportunities and additional greenspace will enhance the region’s ability to grow, attract and retain companies and top talent. 


The Danforth Center is committed to enhancing the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science, and creating new jobs for future generations. The most visible result of this commitment is the Bio Research & Development Growth Park (pronounced Bridge Park) located on our campus. BRDG Park is home to 17 enterprises that employ 250 people and an on-site workforce training program.

Science Education and Outreach

Training infuses all the Danforth Center’s research programs and students come from around the world.

Graduate Programs

Students interested in graduate studies in any of the myriad plant biology disciplines at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center may do so through the associations that our faculty maintain with nearby universities.

Undergraduate Internships

Generous funding from the National Science Foundation supports the Center’s highly sought-after Research Experience for Undergraduates Summer Internship Program. About 9 in 10 of these interns have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in science or work full-time in the field of science.

K- 12

Danforth Center outreach and education programs bring cutting-edge science to classrooms across the State. The Center’s “Technology Trunk” program brings scientific equipment and lab materials into science classrooms in underserved areas.


The center hosts weekly scientific seminars, an annual fall symposium, Conversations Series and Seeds of Change events that are open to the public.

Services Provided

Office, Incubator, Accelerator, Laboratory, Kitchen and Meeting Space

  • Wet Lab Incubator (Specialty)
  • Incubator Space (Specialty)

Manufacturing, High Tech, Life Sciences Development

  • Life Sciences Development (Specialty)
  • Science/Bioscience Seminars (Specialty)
  • Wet Lab Incubator

Internship Programs and Student Services

  • Youth Entrepreneurship Education
  • Internship Program
Contact Information
Karla Roeber
975 N. Warson Rd
St. Louis, MO 63132