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Greg Cumberford, President and Co-Founder, Bent Creek Institute, Inc., is a botanical natural products industry executive. He co-founded Bent Creek Institute in 2006 to grow Western North Carolina’s role as a competitive sourcing region for medicinal plants and value-added botanical products. Prior to joining as BCI’s President in 2011, Mr. Cumberford worked as a senior manager for over 13 years with Gaia Herbs, a leading US grower and manufacturer of botanical extracts. He has BS degree from Stanford University. His avocational interests include natural horsemanship, running, and culinary travel.

Joe-Ann McCoy, PhD, serves as the director of the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository (BCGR) located at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC.  Joe-Ann completed her doctoral research in Plant Physiology from Clemson University which focused on the development of seed, rhizome, and in vitro propagation protocols for Actaea racemosa L. (black cohosh)and analysis of associated triterpene glycosides.  Her MS was focused on developing in vitro propagation and optimal HPLC extraction & analytical methods for Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort).  Prior to BCGR she served as medicinal plant curator for the USDA NCRPIS (North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station) and the NIH ISU Center for Research on Dietary Supplements in Ames, IA.  She has worked with various aspects of native and medicinal plant collection, cell culture, propagation, and analytical research for the past 16 years.

BCI’s mission is to grow an economic cluster in WNC rooted in reverence for our region’s unique biodiversity and botanical traditions, and expressed through scientific testing, research, strategic advisory, and horticultural collaborations. BCI helps their partners clear hurdles as they develop new natural products and grow new specialty crops in our region. The Bent Creek Germplasm Repository (BCGR) of The North Carolina Arboretum is North America’s only gene bank dedicated to archiving, conserving, and storing medicinal plants and related endophyte germplasm for medical and horticultural research. Anchored by BCGR’s botanical research and conservation activities, BCI fosters sustainable jobs growth based on validated botanical medicines and integrative healthcare solutions that serve the wellness needs of our region, our state, and our nation.