The work that Dr. Scott Lenaghan is doing may seem like science fiction to some, but he assures us that it is far from fiction.
He was featured in UTRF’s Inventor Spotlight where he discusses his work with synthetic biology and the development of biosensors. We were curious to learn more about biosensors and how they play into food science. Lenaghan explains that with the advancement of biosensors in crops, that farmers would be able to detect problems such as drought and pests in localized regions of a farmer’s field. The biosensors could be detected from close-up with handheld detectors, or from space using remote satellite imaging. This would allow the farmer to treat that specific area, not the whole crop, which would save on time and resources. Research such as this focuses on global food security, which with an exponential growth in population over the next several years, is of world-wide concern among many.
Dr. Lenaghan’s research expands on the traditional scope of food science and helps to further the department’s research by opening the door to new collaborations across disciplines. Dr. Lenaghan is a co-director and founder of the Center for Agricultural Synthetic Biology (CASB) along with Dr. Neal Stewart, from Plant Sciences.