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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OARDC Scientist Honored for Inventions; Moves 'Discoveries Closer to the Marketplace'

April 23, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio — John Finer, a professor in Ohio State University’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, today (April 23) received the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) 2009 Director’s Innovator of the Year Award.


He was recognized for his many contributions to solving basic and applied problems in molecular biology. He is a leading researcher in the genetic transformation of soybeans and the improvement of legumes.

“Finer has managed to move discoveries closer to the marketplace via the patenting and licensing process,” OARDC Director Steve Slack said in announcing the award at OARDC’s Annual Research Conference here.

“Among other innovations, Finer has invented a robotic image-capturing system that digitally captures data and images in real time,” Slack said. “Through this system he is able to reconstruct and animate plant developmental events that are critical to understanding molecular processes and are extremely useful in training students as the next generation of molecular biologists.”

A patented petri dish that builds up less moisture inside and a patented way to insert genes into plant material using sound are also among his inventions.

The gene-insertion method alone has generated some $470,000 in licensing fees for the university.

Finer is widely recognized in the field of developmental plant biology and is often called upon as an industry consultant and legal expert witness.

He received the 2005 Ohio State University Gamma Sigma Delta Research Award, has been a U.S. Department of Agriculture competitive-grants program panel member and serves as co-editor of the journal Crop Science.

The award — a plaque, $1,000 to the winner, and $2,500 to the operating account of the winner’s research program — honors innovation and entrepreneurship by OARDC scientists, either individually or in teams.

OARDC ( is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agbioscience research center in the nation.

Kurt Knebusch
Steve Slack