Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Eric A. Cassetta

Soil Ecology Technician

Born and raised in Arizona, Eric received a BS with a major of Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology) and a minor in Philosophy from Arizona State University. He was employed at a functional genomics lab that worked exclusively on plants, where they grew many of the species they studied. This split between cultivating the plants and conducting the corresponding lab work is relevant to the undertakings that TLI participates in. He was an intern at TLI the summer of 2018, doing project specific work with Kathryn Turner, lead scientist for the crop protection genetics program. He returned in 2019 as a research resident and now works with both Kathryn and David Van Tassel (lead scientist for perennial oilseeds) on the above ground diseases of Silphium.

Watch Eric explain some of his current work.


What drew you to work at TLI?
The work here caught my attention because it has a beautiful blend of sustainability and applied scientific research, two of my passions.

What would people never guess that you do as part of your role at TLI?
I kill more plants then I ever thought was possible, by the pure quantity of weeds that I pull.

What TLI perennial crop do you look forward to eating most, and how would you prepare it?
I would love to wake up on a cool spring morning and fry up an egg in some Silphium oil. The oil would add a great, rich flavor.

What is your motto / favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus

Support the work of Eric and others at The Land Institute with a donation.


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