Partnering Forum

AUTM Annual Meeting

Partnering Forum

Crop Production, Cultivars, and Precision Ag Partnering Forum​
Tuesday, February 21
2 – 5 p.m.

The 2023 AUTM Annual Meeting will feature a Crop Production, Cultivars, and Precision Ag Partnering Forum. This forum will be a great opportunity for technology transfer and licensing specialists from universities and research institutions to connect with industry representatives in the agriculture sector. Learn industry and office of tech transfer perspectives about plant breeding, ag productivity, and the information technology for agriculture.

Network and learn about the latest innovations in agriculture!



Vahid L. Aidun
Sr. Licensing Manager
Corteva Agriscience

Vahid has held licensing, technology acquisition and intellectual property roles at Syngenta, POET Companies & Cargill before joining Corteva Agriscience in 2010 via legacy company Dow AgroSciences. 
In addition to Licensing germplasm, biotech traits & ag chemicals, Vahid has led the External Opportunities team, conducted IP & agreement training and enjoys public speaking & STEM out-reach.

A native of Canada, Vahid earned his Ph.D in Crop Science from University of Guelph. Vahid lives in Indianapolis where he actively maintains his ‘Canada Card’ by playing hockey, curling & guzzling maple syrup.

Monty Christian
Executive Director of Marketing Strategies, TTU
Ag World Advisors LLC, Partner


Monty Christian has broad experience, leadership and background in agriculture and science-based technologies and with a heritage based on farming and animal production. He has nearly 40 years of career experience with commercial agricultural life science companies including Rhone-Poulenc, Aventis, Bayer Crop Science and BASF.

He has held Senior Executive positions in Bayer and BASF with responsibility and accountability for multimillion dollar financial targets, strategic planning, marketing programs and campaigns, downstream market demand creation, agronomic services and field seed production, processing, and quality.

Christian is a Founding Partner of Ag World Advisors, LLC, and recently joined the Office of Research & Innovation at Texas Tech where he collaborates with faculty on strategic planning, brings innovative ideas, constructive feedback, and fresh perspectives to research programs.

Marie Coffin
VP, Science & Modeling, Cibo Technologies
Marie Coffin is the VP of Science & Modeling at CIBO, a science-driven software startup. She has focused on being a biostatistician at agriculture companies. Prior to CIBO, she worked for Monsanto, Icoria, Paradigm Genetics, and was an assistant professor at Clemson University. She holds a BS in Mathematics from South Dakota State University and a Ph.D. in Statistics from Iowa State University.
Arthur Erickson Arthur Erickson

Arthur's intense interest in UAS began when he was studying aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. While studying, he worked with a research team at UT to deploy drones for disaster prediction/response and transportation optimization. Recognizing the enormous potential of UAS technology, Arthur, and some other UT alumni decided to form Hylio in 2015. In 2017, Arthur applied his experience and passion for UAS by leading Hylio's parcel delivery project in Costa Rica alongside on-demand delivery startup, GoPato. Now Arthur leverages his technical and management experience to lead Hylio as it applies it revolutionizes the global ag-sector.
Kevin Hodges
Head of Feedstock & Agriculture, Gevo


Gwendolyn Humphreys
Licensing Manager, Technology Transfer and Licensing, Corteva Agriscience

Gwendolyn drafts and negotiates agreements in the areas of gene editing, crop protection regulatory sciences, food systems, and open innovation (seeds), and CRISPR out licensing in agriculture.
Prior to joining Corteva, Gwendolyn was an invention manager at Northwestern University’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) on the life science team. In that role, she was responsible for invention assessment, patent prosecution management, and licensing.

Gwendolyn earned a BS in Microbiology from Indiana University. She earned her PhD in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and was a commercialization analyst in the well-recognized internship program in the Office of Technology Management at UIUC.

Lauren Junker
Technology Scout, BASF

Dr. Lauren Junker has been a Technology Scout at BASF since 2019.  She has been a leader in the Industrial Biotechnology research group at BASF for 7 years. 

Interested in technologies and partners to accelerate research at BASF in the areas of agricultural and industrial biotechnology including industrial enzyme and biocatalyst engineering, strain engineering for bio-based chemical production, fermentation process optimization, trait research, breeding, crop protection and sustainable solutions.

Previous roles include serving as a microbiologist and clinical research scientist within Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer Products Division. She earned her B.S in Biotechnology from Cook College, Rutgers University and then a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Cornell University.  She did a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Stefan Schwarz, KWS
Head of Innovation & Licensing 

Stefan Schwarz is Head of Innovation & Licensing at KWS SAAT and responsible for global innovation sourcing for KWS’ R&D unit. Prior to joining KWS, Stefan worked with Bayer and Bayer Crop Science in different senior management roles. Stefan started is professional career as business development manager with DIREVO Biotech after having obtained his PhD in molecular plant genetics from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research.

Arthur Erickson Karolyn Terpstra
Senior Licensing Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations

Karolyn Terpstra is a member of the Business Development team at Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One)  focused on ongoing efforts to identify, negotiate, and manage transactions supporting our portfolio and capability development needs. Together with our partners, Gates Ag One is a subsidiary of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created to help accelerate crop innovations reaching –and benefitting –smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Before joining Gates Ag One, Karolyn was a product manager at DTN focused on innovation of their B2B ag product portfolio, particularly digital tools that provide insights to both agronomists and sellers. Previously, Karolyn held plant breeding, trait development, and product management roles at Syngenta and product management roles at Monsanto.

Karolyn studied agronomy at Colorado State and plant breeding at Michigan State and holds a Masters in IP Law from Michigan State University College of Law. She also earned her MBA from the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium.  

Participating companies include:


2 p.m. Opening
2:15 - 3 p.m. Panel: What is Precision Ag? What is the Future?
3 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:15 - 4 p.m. Quick Pitch Sessions
4 - 5 p.m. Speed Networking

Registration Pricing:
Member Rate - $65
Non-Member Rate - $95

To register for the AUTM Industry Partnering Forum, login to the AUTM website and navigate to the 2023 Annual Meeting registration page.

  • Select a “Full Registration”, a “One Day Only” registration or a “Professional Development Course Only Registration”
  • Select "Partnering Forum"
  • Complete the remainder of the registration questions
  • Click “Add to Cart”
  • Click “Pay Now”
  • Click "Charge Credit Card” to finalize the transaction

A confirmation will be sent to your email on file.
If you are already registered for the AUTM Annual Meeting and wish to add the Partnering Forum to your current registration, login to the AUTM website and navigate to the 2023 Annual Meeting registration page.

  • Click “Add to Registration”
  • Select "Partnering Forum"
  • Click “Add to Cart”
  • Click “Pay Now”
  • Click "Charge Credit Card” to finalize the transaction

A confirmation will be sent to your email on file.


Annual Meeting Sponsors