The AgBio[sphere] is located in North Carolina. It was formally established in late 2014 by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, and the NC BioNetwork. These organizations work together to bring talent, investment, and corporate ventures to North Carolina’s AgBio[sphere] by coordinating activities that link resources and capabilities to specific company needs.

About our team

  • Valerie Giddings, Ph.D.

    Valerie Giddings, Ph.D.

    North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

    As the interim associate dean for the agricultural research program, Giddings manages research functions through the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. That involves all programs in ag education and economics, animal sciences, biological engineering, family and consumer sciences, food and nutritional sciences, sustainable land management, environmental studies, landscape architecture, and urban horticulture. She holds graduate degrees in clothing and textiles from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences from Bennett College.

  • Richard Reich, Ph.D.

    Richard Reich, Ph.D.

    North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

    As assistant commissioner for agricultural services, Reich oversees the agronomic services, food distribution, marketing, plant industry, research stations, and soil and water conservation divisions, along with the department’s small farms and environmental programs. A former research scientist with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and county agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension, he owns a small farm in Forsyth County. His bachelor’s degree in agronomy and his graduate degrees in soil science are all from North Carolina State University.

  • Deborah Thompson, Ph.D.

    Deborah Thompson, Ph.D.

    North Carolina State University

    As director of research partnerships for NCSU’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Thompson develops and manages partnerships among CALS faculty and industry scientists around the world, with an emphasis on North Carolina and the Research Triangle area. With a background in ag biotech and plant gene expression, she has more than 15 years of R&D experience in academic, government and industry laboratories, along with three years in economic development at NCBiotech. Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in botany from Rutgers University, a Ph.D. in genetics from The University of Georgia, and did postdoctoral research at NCSU’s botany and entomology departments.

  • Nandini Mendu, Ph.D.

    Nandini Mendu, Ph.D.

    North Carolina Biotechnology Center

    As NCBiotech’s ag enterprise and technology development director, Mendu works with the business community, research institutions, academic systems and public entities on professional development/networking opportunities and outreach as well as opportunity and business analysis. Before joining the Center, she spent 15 years in the animal health industry working for Embrex, Pfizer and Zoetis and has conducted research in plants at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. She has a master’s degree in plant biology (botany and physiology) from the University of Delhi in India and a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Minnesota.

The AgBio[sphere] is powered by NCBioTech

The AgBio[sphere] is the ecosystem in North Carolina that supports ag biotech technology and company growth. It is made up of a network of partners in industry, university research, government, and policy and support organizations. The day-to-day activities are managed by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, a state-funded non profit that solidifies North Carolina’s leadership in the life sciences.

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