UK crop research organisation NIAB has appointed Dr Alison Bentley as director of genetics and breeding. She succeeds Professor Andy Greenland, who is to retire after holding the post since 2005.
Dr Bentley joined NIAB in 2007, and currently leads its trait genetics research programme. She has a strong interest in the genotype x environment interactions that control complex traits, and in the application of genomics in breeding high-yielding, climate-resilient cereals. Her work at NIAB includes research on characterising flowering time response and the exploitation of novel genetic diversity and genomics tools for wheat improvement. Dr Bentley is currently chair of the UK MonoGram small grain and grasses community. She is also involved with the Wheat Initiative, an international partnership of organisations carrying out global wheat research.
NIAB chief executive Dr Tina Barsby says: “Part of NIAB’s vision to lead the UK in crop innovation is a further expansion of our pre-breeding capabilities, alongside a clear commitment to invest in, and to attract, high calibre employees. We are delighted to be able to promote a scientist of Alison’s strength and experience from within our organisation; going forward she is the ideal candidate to lead and develop our research activities.”
Dr Bentley commented: “It is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to lead NIAB’s research activity in bridging the recognised gap between our basic understanding of plant genetics and our ability to apply that knowledge into practice. I am also privileged to carry on Andy Greenland’s work as no-one has contributed more to NIAB’s reputation and achievements in crop genetics. He set a high standard for research excellence and commercial success within our sector, and built a superb team around him. His colleagues across the whole organisation will miss him greatly and wish him all the best for his retirement.”