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Boyce Thompson Institute unveils plant-phenotyping facility

By Eric Reinhardt (


Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) in Ithaca has opened its plant phenotyping facility, which is called PhenoSight. With the new facility, BTI seeks to uncover insights into plant growth, development, and response to environmental conditions. (Photo credit: Boyce Thompson Institute)

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) says it has opened its plant-phenotyping facility, PhenoSight.

This new facility holds “significant potential for delivering unparalleled insights” into plant growth, development, and response to environmental conditions, according to a BTI news release.

BTI is a plant-sciences research institution in Ithaca.

“The opening of this facility marks a significant milestone in our research capabilities at BTI,” Magdalena Julkowska, assistant professor at BTI and lead of the PhenoSight facility, said in the release. “With this state-of-the-art technology, we are poised to make further groundbreaking discoveries in plant biology and contribute to addressing pressing global challenges such as food security and environmental sustainability.”

The PhenoSight facility is equipped with advanced imaging capabilities, designed to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery in plant biology, BTI said. The facility includes a high-throughput imaging system capable of analyzing up to 64 large plants or 1,280 smaller plants simultaneously.

The system integrates advanced chlorophyll fluorescence and RGB (red, green, blue) imaging techniques to extract real-time data on plant health and vigor, enabling researchers to precisely measure plant height, area, and digital biomass, BTI explained.

Beyond its technology, PhenoSight emphasizes practical applications for research. The vast data sets generated by PhenoSight can be analyzed using advanced computational methods, enabling researchers to uncover hidden patterns and make predictions in plant biology and genetics.

“As we celebrate BTI’s centennial, this new facility stands as a testament to the Institute’s dedication to innovation and excellence in plant science research,” Silvia Restrepo, president of BTI, said in the release. “We are excited to continue pushing the boundaries of plant science and making meaningful discoveries that have a positive impact on our world.”

Opened in 1924, the Boyce Thompson Institute says its scientists conduct investigations into fundamental plant and life-sciences research with goals of increasing food security, improving environmental sustainability in agriculture, and making discoveries that will enhance human health.

BTI is an independent nonprofit research institute affiliated with Cornell University.