Pioneer Member

Anthony Kinney


Ross Allen
Philip Bates
Christoph Benning & Susanne Hoffman-Benning
Joy Bolar
Russ Booth
John Browse
Edgar Cahoon
Kent Chapman
Sreekala Chellamma
Hyeon-Je Cho
Cory Christensen
John Everard
Kayla Flyckt
Jasmin Garcia
Jeff Habben
Kristin Haug Collet
Kevin & Gina Hayes
Eliot Herman
Bill Hitz
Lingxia Huang
Christy Jaworski
Todd Jones
Susan Knowlton
Bev Krejsa
Michael Lassner
Jonathan  Lightner (Lightner Associates LLC)
Zhan-Bin Liu
Albert Lu
Barbara Mazur
Mathias Müller
Kevin Ripp
Keith Roesler
John Shanklin
Bo Shen
Jinrui Shi
Wendy Srnic
Rao Uppalapati
Laura Wayne
Ruth Welti
Terry Wright
Aiqiu Xing

Anonymous Donors

Ross Allen – Tony has been a leader in my professional circle for over two decades. I still remember the first time I met him at the DuPont research campus in Wilmington, and his gracious, inviting nature. It was years later I came to work in his group and felt honored to be an immediate part of his guidance. He has always supported me personally and promoted the greater work of my immediate group. Tony will certainly be missed, as his willingness to go the extra step of pursuing the difficult questions in research science is a rare native trait! Congratulations to Tony on his achievements and long lustrous career!

Philip Bates – I’ve never worked directly with Tony, but I’ve interacted with him many times at conferences. As a young scientist, I always appreciated his inclusiveness and encouragement to the next generation. His good nature will be missed at the Plant Lipid meetings.

Joy Bolar – I have had the honor and privilege of working with Tony for over 15 years at Corteva Agrisciences (heritage Dupont). Tony has been my mentor and had a profound influence on both my professional and personal development. He has had an enormous impact on the advancement of science, influencing the world over. I would like to thank him for his friendship and wish him the absolute best in the next chapter of Life. Congrats Tony for all your achievements and contributions.

Russ Booth – Tony has been a leader in the study of plant lipids for the past 38 years. He has over 75 publications and over 100 issued patents. Tony has also chaired both the Gordon and Harden conferences. Along with his obvious world renown scientific prowess, his amenable personality has made him a wonderful mentor and friend to many.

Ed Cahoon – It was always fun to work with you and to travel to conferences with you and Bill. You made the good old days of DuPont great!

Sreekala Chellamma – Tony is a great scientist, leader and mentor.

Hyeon-Je Cho – Tony, congratulations for the ASPB Pioneer recognition! Tony Kinney was my manager from 2012 to 2016 in DuPont/Pioneer and Dow/DuPont. He was always passionate and enthusiastic about R&D and emphasized the importance of R&D as an engine of future growth. He provided useful suggestions and all kinds of support for research projects that we have done with great success. It was my honor to work with Tony, I wish him all the best for the future!

Tom Elmo Clemente – Tony strived to maintain an open mind during his career by following the Dylan mantra: “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters”

John Everard – Few Agricultural Industry Plant Scientists have the distinction of being involved in the discovery, development, and product launch of a completely new market segment for soybean. Anthony J. (Tony) Kinney earned that distinction during his 35-year career at DuPont and Corteva. A plant biochemist by training, Tony received his Bachelors degree from the University of Sussex and a D.Phil from Oxford University in the UK after completing a prestigious Agricultural Research Council (ARC) studentship focusing on mechanistic studies into the role of membrane lipids in the adaptation of roots to low temperatures. Tony moved to the United States in 1983 and, after Post-Doctoral research appointments at Louisiana State and Rutgers Universities, started his industry research career at the DuPont Experimental Station, in Wilmington, Delaware in 1989. As a Research Scientist in DuPont’s Agricultural Products Division (now Corteva Agriscience) Tony joined a group focused on applying newly emerging plant transgenic technologies to improve the value of agricultural crops. One aspect of the research was to improve the stability of vegetable oils that are particularly prone to rancidity due to the abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hydrogenation was the traditional method for stabilizing vegetable oils for food use and had the added advantage of changing the physical properties of the oil, converting it to semi- and solid materials (e.g., shortenings, margarine) that were valuable for baking and many industrial applications. The unfortunate byproduct of partial hydrogenation is the introduction of trans-hydrogenated double bonds which have negative health impacts for consumers. The DuPont research group started with the premise that using biotechnology, plants could be designed to produce oils lacking double bonds during their synthesis within the plant, rather than having to remove them chemically, post-harvest. Tony’s career is unusual, given the very long development timelines for transgenic crops, in that he has been involved at all stages of the project from pathway and gene discovery (an example of a private/public collaboration) to the first commercial sales of Pioneer Plenish® high oleic soybeans in 2012. Plenish was the first commercial transgenic soybean Output Trait and is a shining example of a discovery research project driven through to commercialization because the truly differentiated product characteristics bring clear consumer benefit, which incidentally was the goal when the project was initiated in the late 1980’s. Other discoveries developed during this very productive time led to the discovery of genes encoding enzymes in exotic plants that catalyze the formation of novel fatty acids with non-food uses in biofuels, lubricants, and polymers. Discoveries that are extremely relevant in an era of renewed focus on climate friendly liquid fuels and lubricants.

Plenish represents an exemplar of the use of biotechnology to develop desirable and valuable agricultural products and would be the pinnacle of most careers. However, after spending the early part of his career in the lab Tony progressed up the leadership ladder and went on to lead groups in Delaware, Iowa and California focused on the discovery and development of other seed quality traits through metabolic engineering. These included improving the protein and oil content of soybean and maize seeds and the methods for creating them. He led several groups that had responsibilities for output, insect control, and disease resistance traits in soybeans, as well as the development and the delivery of genetic transformation and site-specific integration. Notably this group delivered Corteva’s first gene-edited variants in soybean and developed the platform that currently underpins Corteva’s soybean editing pipeline.
During his research career Tony received over 100 granted patents, but what is perhaps more unusual and noteworthy for an industrial scientist is that he has published over 75 refereed articles and book chapters. Taken together these statistics illustrate an extraordinary research career and an unusual one in which a large proportion of the cutting-edge science behind his research discoveries has been made available to the Plant Biology community through peer reviewed publication.

To remain at the forefront of discovery research for over 35 years requires a special set of talents. These talents have obviously been recognized within the company, as he rose through the ranks from Research Scientist to Senior Technical Director with specific roles in directing research and developing long-term strategy, testaments to his credentials as a true Pioneer in the plant sciences.

Kayla Flyckt – I greatly appreciate Tony’s scientific contributions and leadership at Corteva Agriscience. He was able to foster a collaborative and inspiring work environment, contributing both expertise and a strong vision. I enjoyed traveling with him to the Gordon Plant Lipid research conference. I am thankful for his support, which has left a lasting impact on my career.

Tom Greene – As I reflect back on my career, it’s the friends and colleagues that are part of that journey that really make the difference and make the science journey worthwhile. As I joined DuPont Pioneer, I greatly appreciated how you welcomed me into the organization and helped me learn the ropes. Yes, some of it was a bit of trial by fire, i.e. the expensive bottles of wine, but those are the times we all remember. As I have worked with you over the years, I’ve seen a tremendous science leader who was able to bridge the discovery process through a lens of product orientation. That doesn’t come easy, and you did it very well. You built your deep scientific reputation both inside and outside our organization. Again, not an easy task but it came quite naturally to you. You were clearly a mentor to many, and your stamp is on our Biotech pipeline and the team that is still driving it.

Please know it has been an honor and pleasure working with you. Corteva and the heritage organizations are better because of your leadership, your passion for the science, your passion for building products and your passion for the people who work alongside you. I have learned much from you my friend and I will always look back fondly on the time we spent building the robust trait pipeline we have today.

Jeff Habben – Tony has been a fantastic colleague over the years. His knowledge regarding output traits in corn, soybean, and canola is encyclopedic. Equally impressive is the positive impact he has had on the careers of numerous scientists. Corteva is a richer organization because of Tony!

Bill Hitz – Tony contributed greatly to understanding of plant lipid metabolism and seed development in general through his science insight and attention to detail. He also contributed to the productivity and just plain fun of his colleagues with his ability bring people together.

Susan Knowlton – Tony has been a colleague and friend of mine spanning over 30 years. I like to think he and I (along with others) ‘grew up’ together at DuPont/ Pioneer/ and finally Corteva – we started out so young and then learned to dodge our way through the heights and pitfalls of life in corporate science. Tony is fabulously humble and a very cool guy all at once. Besides being a brilliant scientist (which you might never suspect if you met him on the street), his ability to foster personality diversity within work groups is unparallel. It’s been a great ride and I’ve appreciated all that Tony contributed to making my career, and those of many others, such a rewarding and totally fun experience.

Lightner Associates LLC (Jonathan Lightner) – Tony has been a colleague, mentor, friend and respected sage scientist for all my 30 years as an agricultural scientist. As a young post-doctoral scientist at DuPont in the early 90’s Tony was an informal mentor, a supporter, and an example of how to do excellent, challenging science in the context of a major multinational business. In those days he was something of a back bencher, doing excellent science but always asking the tough questions in seminars and meetings, and doing it with a lively, snarky, sense of humor that sometimes got under the skin of the executive team. Tony was always up for a talk, ideally over a pint, on science, life or anything at the end of a productive work day. I was pleased to be the first person at Pioneer Hi-Bred to introduce him to the Royal Mile in Des Moines, not Edinburgh ! In the last decade Tony stepped into larger and larger leadership roles at Corteva and it’s predecessor businesses. He flourished and his impact broadened and deepened. It’s been a pleasure to watch this transition to leading teams of scientists and also his ability to interface with that same executive set he used to frustrate. He’s been successful in ways that would have been hard to imagine in the 90s, probably because he’s a great scientist, but also a genuinely good person who really cares about his teams and colleagues. I know his mentorship has continued to have positive impacts with young scientists, and in many respects his leadership and science excellence has been a cornerstone of Corteva’s continuing position of strength in quality traits.

Zhan-Bin Liu – Tony Kinney has been a long time ASPB member since his graduate school days. He was an editor on the editorial board for Plant Physiology for over 20 years. He made tremendous contributions to the plant biology community by mentoring scientists and providing cutting-edge research on plant lipids. One of his major contributions was the application of plant biotechnology for product development. The Plenish® high oleic soybean is one of these products, which provides consumer health benefits. During his career he has been active in the international plant lipid community and has chaired both Gordon and Harden conferences. He has over 75 publications in the scientific literature, has written numerous book chapters and invited reviews, and is the inventor or coinventor on over 100 issued US patents.

Barbara Mazur – Tony Kinney’s recognition as an ASPB Pioneer is well deserved. I have known Tony since we hired him at DuPont at the beginning of his career, and I have enjoyed his friendship and his scientific contributions ever since. Tony’s command of lipid metabolism and his unique and outstanding insights into the science guided many of our programs at DuPont. He was responsible for seminal patents and for the development of commercial products. Tony’s sense of humor, his delight in good food, and his knowledge of the restaurants that served great meals were all highly appreciated. Thank you, Tony, for your work and for your friendship, and I hope to see you in Wilmington, soon!

Knut Meyer – Thank you for your unwavering support and mentorship. It has been very rewarding learning from you and your input will be greatly missed. Have a great life during your retirement.

Mathias Müller – For the past 19 years, Tony has been a fantastic colleague at DuPont Pioneer and Corteva. His encyclopedic knowledge of fatty acid biosynthesis, his unwavering passion for science and innovation, and his inspiring dedication to mentoring and education have made him a role model for many of us, his colleagues.

Thomas Patterson – Tony has an impressive record of accomplishment in plant biology. Over the years he moved through many different projects, quickly becoming an expert in the area and helping to focus his team’s research efforts on the project’s goals. He is a great people leader, and was able to successfully manage the diverse personalities in his research groups, always keeping the teams working together and moving the research forward.

Kevin Ripp – Been great to be involved with all your projects through the years. Influenced many many scientists.

Keith Roesler – Congratulations to Tony for a high-impact career! It’s remarkable that his early ground-breaking discoveries decades ago with plant lipid metabolism genes and soybean storage proteins are still key to current efforts to improve seed protein and oil quantity and quality. Tony provided excellent leadership to both industry and public plant science research, including serving as a long-time editor for Plant Physiology and organizing international conferences on plant lipid metabolism. His sense of humor and pleasant demeanor made it a pleasure, as well as an honor, to work with him. Well done, Tony!

John Shanklin – I want to thank Tony for his steadfast support of the plant biology community and for translating some basic plant physiology discoveries into products that benefit mankind. I wish him the best of luck in his next chapter.

Wendy Smic – Tony inspired countless scientists, including myself, in critically strategic areas of plant protein and lipid biosynthesis. His strategic mindset, combined with creative approaches and business acumen, inspired numerous commercial and pre-commercial product concepts for legacy DuPont, Pioneer and current Corteva. He is a humble leader, inspiring so many by his collaborative approach, mentoring, encouraging, challenging and delivering. I appreciate Tony for his willingness to speak the truth and promote disruptive innovations. His long productive career made a strong legacy impact on Corteva, and he has delivered novel products and value to growers.

Rao Uppalapati – Tony Kinney had an amazing career of almost 35 years in Cortvea and with heritage DuPont-Pioneer. Tony led several Trait Discovery programs at Corteva and made tremendous contributions as a scientist and a senior leader in discovery and advancement of traits. He has been well recognized in the area of metabolic engineering and soy output traits. He mentored several scientists and was a great team leader. Tony’s pioneering research and publications in plant biology, metabolic engineering and plant biotechnology, and his leadership and mentoring had a great impact. I wish him the very best in retirement.

Laura Wayne – During my PhD at WSU, I read many of Tony’s now classic lipid papers and reviews. John Browse brought up Tony as his key industry contact and sent several graduate students to do summer internships at Dupont-Pioneer in Tony’s group. I’m not sure exactly why I didn’t pursue an internship at Dupont-Pioneer, other than I wanted to find my own internship (I ended up at a startup company in Boston). So surprisingly, I did not meet Tony until the merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont (although we were both at PB17 in Hawaii) when Tony asked me to join his Output Traits group at Corteva Agriscience. I was thrilled to be back in Output Traits and working on lipid projects. Tony brought to life the true meaning of collaborations and building trust with external colleagues; he was always willing to forge new collaborations and share materials & technologies. Unlike my time at Dow, Tony stressed the importance of presenting research externally (if we share, they will share). Tony’s impressive publication and patent record illustrates his exceptional ability to collaborate, bring in new ideas and implement them into products (e.g. Plenish® high oleic soybeans). Tony is an inspiration to all plant biologists and is a role model on how to have a successful and meaningful career in industry. I am grateful for the 6(!) years I worked with Tony and learned from him. His retirement from Corteva marks the end of an era. I’ll try my best to continue in his footsteps as I lead the Seed Composition group.

Terry Wright – It has been an honor to work alongside Tony since the formation of Corteva. I was fortunate enough to serve with him and work for him in Trait Discovery and strongly enjoyed getting to appreciate his years of experience, knowledge, and unique perspective. He always had an opinion, but was slow to offer it, making his input all the more valuable for being well-thought-out, honest, and thorough. While his passion and clear expertise in plant lipids is undisputed, his experience and impact in many other scientific disciplines is probably underappreciated by others; it is highly valued by me. Tony’s collective impact on plant biotechnology and the agricultural industry has been immense and his legacy will continue to drive dividends.

Aiqiu Xing – It was my pleasure to work with Tony for 22 years, where did the time go? I wish him a great life in retirement, and I hope we see each other at one of the stores in Wilmington DE. He will be missed!