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SVACS Dinner Meeting
Michael's at Shoreline Park
Mountain View, CA
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SVACS Dinner Meeting

Without pest control, farmers would lose 30-80% of their crops. Farmers have to control pests to feed the growing world population. Recently, Europe banned a huge number of pesticides, leaving farmers in need of eco-friendly pest control solutions. Farmers globally told us that they had limited tools for eco-friendly pest control. This is really close to my heart because my grandparents were farmers. I know how much pest control makes a difference in their harvest. During my postdoc, I discovered the first sex pheromone from a microscopic roundworm called a nematode. Pheromones are communication signals and have been used successfully to control insect pests above ground in the air. My company, Pheronym, is developing pheromones to address the pest control problem.The pheromones we develop are water-soluble and can be used to control pests in the soil. We have two applications. First, we can use pheromones to influence beneficial nematodes that will feed on insect pests. Second, we can treat seeds with pheromones that will repel bad nematodes that attack plant roots. Since pheromones are effective at very low concentrations, our techniques have a very small footprint. Through our pheromones, we are creating a much-needed eco-friendly solution for farmers across the world.

Short biography

Dr. Fatma Kaplan is the co-founder, CEO of Pheronym and Activate Berkeley Fellow & Berkeley Lab Affiliate Cyclotron Road Cohort 2021. She is an entrepreneur and accomplished scientist with experience in both biology and chemistry. She has a Ph.D. in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology and postdoctoral training in Natural Product Chemistry with a focus on isolating biologically active compounds. Dr. Kaplan discovered the first sex pheromone of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and published in Nature in 2008. Then she discovered that pheromones regulate other behaviors in both parasitic and beneficial nematodes. Dr. Kaplan conducted the first agricultural biocontrol experiment in Space at the International Space Station in 2020. She has very high-impact publications and her dissertation was cited in textbooks within 5 years of publication. Dr. Kaplan worked as a scientist at NASA, the National Magnetic Field Laboratory and the US Department of Agriculture  Agricultural Research Service. Dr. Kaplan co-founded Pheronym to bring nematode pheromone technology to the market. Dr. Kaplan believes that nematode pheromone technology will provide effective, non-toxic pest control for farmers and gardeners.


Michael's at Shoreline Park (View)
2960 N. Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States



Kid Friendly: No


Owner: Silicon Valley ACS
On BPT Since: Sep 20, 2020
Jigisha Shah

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