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Cecilia Chi-Ham

Director Science & Technology, PIPRA

Expert Bio

Dr. Cecilia Chi-Ham earned a PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Southern Mississippi and is a registered patent agent with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Upon completing postdoctoral work at Michigan State University in the field of plant biology, she joined PIPRA and leads the Science and Technology Program. The program’s activities straddle the junction between science, legal, business development and regulatory affairs necessary for the research and development of new agricultural innovations.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: How can you ensure the short-term and long-term wellbeing of both people and soil in "developing countries" where GMO-creating companies sell or offer their seeds (and products) in the various capacities? Please provide evidence of scientific resources t

Answered By Cecilia Chi-Ham - Aug 23, 2013

A: I was born and raised in a developing country, Honduras, and can appreciate the concern for the well-being of the people and the environment. It is really important that we consider the well-being of farmers in developing countries because they represent 90 percent of all farmers growing GM crops in the world (ISAAA, 2012). So far, biotechnology has offered developing countries farms with increased productivity, economic gains and environmental benefits, including reduced insecticide use and decreased hospital visits due to insecticide poisonings.Please follow these links for a compilation of [...]


Q: "Suggesting that we have to pick between supporting Golden Rice or mass malnourishment is a false choice. What if the billions of dollars (and now over a decade of time) spent on developing Golden Rice had instead been invested on a program supporting foo

Answered By Cecilia Chi-Ham - Sep 19, 2013

A: Golden Rice is a great example of a public-private partnership working towards addressing major malnourishment deficiency that affects over half of the world’s population.  Rice is a staple crop in China, India, Indonesia—it can offer as much as 80% of the caloric intake. However, rice does not naturally produce vitamin A,  iron and other micronutrients. As a result of the micronutrient deficiency, children that rely on a rice-based diet suffer from impaired immune system, blindness, and even death in children.  Since there are no rice varieties that naturally produce pro-vitam [...]



Q: What is the importance of GMO?

Answered By Kent Bradford - May 28, 2014

A: Human society is supported by its ability to produce sufficient food for the total population while at the same time not using up or degrading the capacity to continue to produce that amount of food in the future. This requires us to “sustainably intensify” our agricultural methods to increase the yields on currently farmed land and minimize the expansion of agriculture onto additional wild lands and forests. Expanding agriculture increases production but has negative impacts on biodiversity, carbon release to the atmosphere, soil erosion and nutrient losses. Instead, obtaining more food value [...]

Answered By Cecilia Chi-Ham - Mar 27, 2014

A: Society has the responsibility of using science, rather than hype, to inform regulation, policy and scientific strategies to develop crops that can continue providing us with safe foods. In 2013, the World Food Prize was awarded to the pioneering scientists who developed modern agricultural biotechnology. Biotechnology crops have provided significant economic benefit to millions of consumers, reduced agriculturally related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduced soil erosion and substantially decreased the use of many toxic agricultural chemicals. Unfortunately, this polarized debate is n [...]



Q: Is it true that antigmo campaigns are causing wide scale death in 3rd world nations? Could you explain the situation to me, I used to think gmo was a bad idea until someone told me this.

Answered By Cecilia Chi-Ham - Aug 08, 2014

A: Many developing countries, including the one I am from, Honduras, are benefiting from GM and biotechnology. Corn is one of the staple crops in Honduras; however, almost 50 percent of the corn is imported. As a result, governmental food-security strategies include adoption of hybrid and GM corn to improve national production. In Honduras, anti-GMO activists have not been as vocal as they are in other parts of the world. In contrast, anti-GMO activists have been extremely vocal in the case of Golden Rice — unfortunately, at the expense of human lives.   Over the 12 years it has taken [...]

Environment Health & Safety