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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics

Applied Wheat Genomics Innovation Lab

For information on past activities please contact:

Kansas State University
Department of Plant Pathology
4024 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Current Lab Members 

Jesse Poland

Jesse Poland


Jesse Poland serves as Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab in Applied Wheat Genomics and is an Assistant Professor the Department of Plant Pathology at K-State. Dr. Poland received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in Plant Breeding and Genetics in 2009, a M.S. in Plant Pathology from Kansas State University in 2004, and a B.S. in Agronomy from Kansas State in 2003.Dr. Poland's Lab is focused on wheat genetics and germplasm improvement.


Mark Sorrells

Mark Sorrells

Collaborating Scientist: Professor, Cornell University

Dr. Mark Sorrells received his PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1978 and then joined the faculty at Cornell University in the Department of Plant Breeding & Biometry. Since 1991 he has been Professor of Plant Breeding. From 2006 to 2014 he was Chair of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics. The primary focus of Dr. Sorrell's research program is on breeding and methodologies and the development of small grains varieties. His breeding program has released 16 small grains varieties. Currently the focus of his research is optimizing genomic selection strategies.


Uttam Kumar

Associate Scientist, Borlaug Institute for South Asia, India

Uttam Kumar is a wheat breeder working at Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) sites in India. He obtained M.S. from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut in 2001 while Ph.D. was received degree from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 2005. During his Ph.D., he mapped spot disease resistance genes using RILs first time. Heaving working in Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) Varanasi, after completion of his Ph.D., he moved to Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK), Germany to avail Leibniz Post Doctorate fellowship. During his stay in Germany, he mapped spot blotch disease resistance genes in three different genetic backgrounds.


Haley Ahlers

Project Manager

As Project Coordinator for the lab, Haley Ahlers' responsibilities include developing and implementing strategic communications to increase awareness and visibility of the lab's projects, coordinating and facilitating meetings, organizing program events and overall general project management. Ahlers has over a decade of experience in creating design and communications work in higher education and research. 


Ravi Prakash Singh

Distinguished Scientist and Head: CIMMYT, Mexico

A native of Varanasi, India, Dr. Ravi Prakash Singh obtained his B.S. and M.S. from Banaras Hindu University in 1977 and 1979, respectively. He then received a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney, Australia in 1983 and in the same year joined the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), located in Mexico and known for triggering the "Green Revolution". His contributions to global wheat germplasm improvement have resulted in the release of over 220 wheat varieties worldwide that have continued to enhance wheat productivity and protect crop to rusts and other important diseases through built-in genetic resistance.

Jose Crossa

José Crossa

Distinguished Scientist, Biometrics and Statistics Unit, CIMMYT

Dr. Crossa joined CIMMYT in 1984 and from 1990-2011 he was Head of the Biometrics and Statistics Unit. The primary focus of his research program is on Statistical models for studying genotype x environment interaction. He has over 350 scientific publications and more than 30 book chapters. He has developed biometrical genetic models for efficient regeneration, collection and classification of genetic resources conservation stored in gene banks. He is an adjunct professor in the Statistics Department and Plant Science Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an invited professor at the Graduate College, in Mexico, and a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America and the Agronomy Society of America. Currently the focus of his research is developing statistical models for genomic prediction including genotype x environment interactions with pedigree, genomic, and environmental data.


Imtiaz Muhammad

Country Representative, CIMMYT Pakistan

Dr. Imtiaz Muhammad is the lead representative from CIMMYT, heading the innovation lab research efforts in Pakistan. He specializes in developing germplasm/cultivars and associated technologies for wheat and applied genetic and genomic technologies to improve abiotic stresses, yield and other traits. With 24 years of experience, he has developed and implemented multidisciplinary national and international projects covering agricultural research, food and security, agribusiness, and community driven development. Dr. Imtiaz received his Ph.D. from Lincoln University, New Zealand, and a MPhil from KP University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan.