Bill Gibbons has been named the director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at South Dakota State University and the associate dean of research for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
Gibbons has been serving as the interim for both positions since 2016. He began as the director and associate dean Dec. 22, 2019. In these roles, Gibbons coordinates and facilitates research in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the college’s statewide network of research farms and stations that make up the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.
"This is a very exciting time for agricultural and environmental research at SDSU, and recent upgrades to several of our research facilities provide the infrastructure to create innovative solutions to the issues and opportunities that lie ahead of us,” said Gibbons. “Together with our partners in SDSU Extension, we will continue to deliver effective and efficient solutions to South Dakota producers and residents.”
With six field stations and more than 17,000 acres of land across the state devoted to scientific exploration, the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station is the largest public and privately funded research organization in the state.
“Dr. Gibbons brings a tremendous level of expertise in research, intellectual property management, administrative experience and an entrepreneurial spirit,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of SDSU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “He has done an outstanding job serving in the interim role and I look forward to his continued leadership in the permanent roles as director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and associate dean for research.”
Gibbons has a highly accomplished research career at SDSU. His work focuses on applied microbiology and biotechnology, specifically in value addition to agricultural products through bioprocessing. He helped develop a high-protein aqua feed ingredient from soybean meal that is now being commercially manufactured and providing aquaculture farmers and feed manufacturers around the world with the power needed to boost the rapidly growing industry’s performance. As a graduate student, Gibbons participated in one of the most impactful projects ever conducted at SDSU, the groundbreaking ethanol fuel research and development project that began in 1977. Since then, the ethanol technology developed at SDSU has grown and spread across the country.
Gibbons has practiced and promoted interdisciplinary research for many years and has a strong network of collaborators from process and chemical engineers to biochemists and molecular biologists. His research has exceeded more than $5 million over the past four years.
Gibbons earned multiple degrees at South Dakota State University—bachelor’s degrees in biology, microbiology and chemistry; a master’s degree in microbiology; and doctoral degrees in agronomy and microbiology. Gibbons joined the Department of Biology and Microbiology as an assistant professor in 1987 and attained the rank of professor in 1997. He was named a distinguished professor in 2018.
In his role as a professor, Gibbons taught a biotechnology course and advises graduate students and undergraduate researchers. He has trained over 20 master’s students, three doctoral students and countless undergraduate students, most of which have gone on to work in the biotechnology industry.
His honors include being named a Distinguished Professor by SDSU in 2018, a National Wetlands Award winner by the Environmental Law Institute in 2018, an F.O. Butler Award for Excellence in Research by SDSU in 2014, the Pat and Jo Cannon Intellectual Property Commercialization Award in 2011, Gamma Sigma Delta Researcher of the Year in 2011, College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Distinguished Researcher of the Year in 2007 and SDSU Microbiology Club Teacher of the Year in 1990.
About the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU
The South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU is the largest public and privately funded research organization in the state with six field stations and more than 17,000 acres of land across the state devoted to scientific exploration. Since 1887, SDSU researchers have used the field stations to find solutions to pressing problems and identify new opportunities for the state. The unique location of each research facility allows for diverse and responsive research to meet the needs of South Dakotans.