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BJ Haun is responsible for the marketing and licensing activities for agricultural, horticultural and veterinary medicine technologies developed at the University of Minnesota. Inventions in his portfolio include apple varieties such as Honeycrisp and SweeTango™, cold hardy wine grapes such as Marquette and Itasca, agronomic crops such as food-grade soybeans or wheat varieties, as well as animal vaccines and veterinary diagnostic tools.
BJ received a B.S. in Agronomy and a M.S. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D in Plant Biology and Genetics from the University of Minnesota. BJ’s primary research centered on the regulation of gene expression in plants (epigenetics and imprinting in maize) and the role genome structure and gene copy-number variation played in plant phenotypes.
Before joining OTC in October 2016, BJ helped launch a start-up company (Calyxt) with gene-editing technology developed at the UMN. As a research scientist at Calyxt, he was one of the first to develop a high-value trait in an agronomic crop using modern gene-editing technologies. BJ then transitioned to business and product development roles at Calyxt, where he oversaw and implemented a wide-range of objectives, including in/out-licensing deals, partnership agreements, intellectual property development, executive management and business strategy.
BJ is most interested in the intersection between life science research and business development, with a strong drive to bring technological accomplishments from the lab to the world as products that can positively impact people and society. BJ is the author or co-author on 11 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as a co-inventor on several patents/patent applications.