Mary-Dell Chilton, a Distinguished Science Fellow at SBI, began her corporate career in 1983 with CIBA-Geigy Corporation (a legacy company of Syngenta). Her tenure has spanned both research and administrative roles, including Vice President, Agricultural Biotechnology. Her current research is directed to improving the technology for introducing new genes into plants. Dr. Chilton is author of more than 100 scientific publications. In honor of her many achievements, in 2002 Syngenta announced creation of the Mary-Dell Chilton Center – a new administrative and conference center which was added to the SBI facility in Research Triangle Park.
While on faculty at Washington University in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Dr. Chilton led a collaborative research study that produced the first transgenic plants. This groundbreaking research, which was the basis for the many significant contributions plant biotechnology has made to agriculture today, earned Mary-Dell Chilton the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences for 2002.