Speakers To Discuss MSU Wheat Breeding Program

Montana State University (MSU) breeders continue to develop and research several wheat varieties. Three speakers including Dr. Suchismita Mondal, Dr. Jason Cook, and Dr. Venugopal Mendu will be presenting information on their wheat breeding and genetic research at the EARC Field Day, July 20.

Dr. Suchismita Mondal MSU assistant professor directs the Montana State winter wheat breeding program. She joined MSU this year from the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. Mondal has been a wheat breeder and research scientist at CIMMYT since 2011 and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in wheat genetics and modern plant breeding techniques. She focuses on using innovative methods to breed for wheat drought and heat tolerance, traits.

Dr. Venugopal Mendu, MSU associate professor, and Winnifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences endowed chair, utilizes genomic, genetic, molecular, genome editing, and breeding technologies in his research program. The Montana Plant Science Chair is a position funded in part by the cereal grain industry to support expanded research capacity critical to Montana grain growers.

Dr. Jason Cook, MSU-Bozeman trait integration breeder and geneticist, has been working with the MSU spring wheat program since 2015 and prior to that, he was breeding wheat for a private company. Cook is knowledgeable of all aspects of the MSU plant breeding program and has a track record of success in obtaining research funding and completing and publishing research projects. His on-going research focuses on the genes impacting wheat yield, wheat stem sawfly resistance, and fusarium head blight tolerance.

He will be speaking about the MSU spring wheat breeding program, providing an update on wheat varieties that are doing well in Eastern Montana and sharing information on some of the new up and coming varieties that are coming out of the breeding program.

“The information that I will be talking about can be used by growers to decide what variety will best fit their operation,” said Cook.

The MSU Wheat Breeding Program goal is to develop new varieties that increase yield and quality for its buyers and add genes that help provide disease and insect resistance.

“We develop new spring wheat varieties for Montana producers and do genetic studies to better understand the genetics that control the traits that we are interested in to help improve and increase productivity of spring wheat varieties in Montana.”


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