Program Management

Executive Leadership Team

Winthrop B. Phippen, Ph.D.
Project Director

Dr. Win Phippen currently serves as the Project Director for IPREFER a multi-institutional $10M National Institute for Food and Agriculture project focused on commercializing pennycress as a viable new cash cover crop for the Midwest Corn Belt. The IPREFER project (Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience) focuses on optimizing agronomic protocols, breeding line development, assessment of environmental impacts, supply chain requirements, and community outreach.

Dr. Phippen is a professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics in the School of Agriculture at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. He received his master’s degree from Cornell University in plant breeding and a doctorate degree from Purdue University. His research for the last 20 years has focused on agronomic and breeding improvement of alternative and new crops such as: milkweed, cuphea, hemp, and most recently pennycress.

310 Knoblauch Hall
University Circle
Macomb IL 61455
E-mail: wb-phippen@wiu.edu

Rebekka Darner, Ph.D.
Co-PI

Professor and Director, Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4120
Normal IL 61790
Email: rldarne@ilstu.edu

Cristine (Cris) Handel, Ph.D.
Co-PI

VP Strategy and Operations
CoverCress, Inc.
1100 Corporate Square Dr.
St. Louis MO 63132
Email: chandel@covercress.com

David Marks, Ph.D.
Co-PI

Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology
Department of Plant Biology
University of Minnesota
Forever Green Initiative: https://www.forevergreen.umn.edu/crops-systems/winter-annual-grains-oilseeds/pennycress
140 Gortner Laboratory, 1479 Gortner Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
Email: marks004@umn.edu

William (Bill) Perry, Ph.D.
Co-PI

Professor of Aquatic Ecology
Campus Box 4120
School of Biological Sciences
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4120
Email: wlperry@ilstu.edu

John C. Sedbrook, Ph.D.
Co-PI

Professor of Genetics
School of Biological Sciences
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4120
Normal, IL 61790
Email: jcsedbr@ilstu.edu

M. Scott Wells, Ph.D.
Co-PI

Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences Building
St. Paul, MN 55108-6026
Email: mswells@umn.edu

Anne Kinzel, Program Manager