Zachary B. Lippman; Prof. Zach Lippman spent his early years working on a vegetable farm on the coast of Connecticut where he became interested in agriculture and plant breeding. He then attended Cornell University and studied plant biology and genetics. At Cornell, Zach worked in the laboratory of Prof. Steven Tanksley where he completed honors thesis research mapping the genes responsible for the evolution of extreme fruit size in tomato. Zach’s interests then shifted to fundamental questions of how gene activity is controlled. For his Ph.D., Zach attended the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he worked with Prof. Rob Martienssen to investigate how transposons control genes epigenetically in the model plant Arabidopsis. Seeking to unite epigenetics and plant breeding, Zach moved to Israel for postdoctoral research with Prof. Dani Zamir where he studied the basis of hybrid vigor, or heterosis in tomato. This led to an interest in plant development, and Zach began studying the pathways controlling flower production in tomato and related Solanaceae species, which became the foundation for his research program at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. For the last 8 years, Zach and his team have developed a research program that integrates developmental genetics, comparative genomics, molecular biology, genome engineering, and breeding to identify and apply new genes and molecular networks that control stem cell fate and flower production, with the goal of improving crop productivity.