NIAB has appointed Dr. Sigrid Heuer to lead its pre-breeding department and develop a program on trait dissection and gene discovery for crop improvement and resilience, addressing the key issues farming faces while adapting to a changing climate and transitioning to sustainable farming systems.
Dr Heuer will lead strategic research and development, building upon NIAB’s experience in pre-breeding of arable crops and complementing NIAB’s work in statistical genetics, biotechnology and data science as well as its program of farming systems research and industry-facing knowledge exchange. Sigrid will also ensure close interaction with the University of Cambridge through the Crop Science Centre and develop joint projects supporting NIAB's gene discovery efforts as well as training the next generation of plant scientists.
Sigrid joins from Rothamsted Research and has had an international career. After obtaining her PhD in Germany, she has worked as a Molecular Crop Physiologist in Senegal, the Philippines, and Australia for the past twenty years before moving to the UK. Her research focussed on enhancing stress tolerance and nutrient use efficiency in crops and she currently has several ongoing projects on high-temperature stress in wheat, rice and beans. She is also part of the BBSRC-funded Designing Future Wheat programme and will continue her ongoing work on plant responses to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers at NIAB.
Speaking about her appointment, Sigrid says. "At NIAB, I look forward to developing a multi-disciplinary program accessing and exploiting the tremendous genetic diversity that is available within wheat and other crops. Making this useful for breeders and farmers to enhance the sustainability of our food systems is our immediate priority."
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