Dr. Curtis Pozniak leads an extensive research program and has released 15 new varieties since 2003. (Photo: Christina Weese)

USask appoints new Crop Development Centre director

Dr. Curtis Pozniak (PhD) has been appointed the new director of the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).

Pozniak will begin a five-year term on July 1, 2020.

For nearly 50 years, the CDC has remained dedicated to improving economic returns for farmers and the agriculture industry of Western Canada by enhancing existing crops, creating novel uses for traditional crops and developing new crops.

“The CDC has been remarkably successful, releasing more than 450 new crop varieties and contributing significantly to the agricultural economy of Saskatchewan and Western Canada,” said Pozniak, a plant geneticist and wheat breeder with the CDC and the Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Program (SRP) Chair in Durum and High-Yield Wheat Breeding and Genetics. “As the new director, I will continue to work with our funders, partners and producers to advance our core vision to be the premier field crop breeding organization in Western Canada.”

A faculty member of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources since 2003, Pozniak received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1999 and PhD in plant genetics and breeding in 2002 from USask.

“We are thrilled to have such an exemplary CDC researcher take on this important role,” said Dr. Mary Buhr (PhD), dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

“Curtis has provided our producers with numerous popular varieties of durum wheat and been a leader in global science breakthroughs such as cracking the wheat genetic code. His multi-faceted excellence will lead the CDC to continuing innovations in developing crops the world needs.”

Pozniak leads an extensive research program and has released 15 new varieties since 2003. He is a recognized leader in application of wheat genomics to cultivar improvement with more than 140 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals, including in the prestigious journal Science.

“The University of Saskatchewan has a reputation for attracting highly skilled leaders; this tradition continues with the hiring of Dr. Pozniak,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit. “Dr. Pozniak has made many positive contributions to the agriculture industry in Saskatchewan and is well-positioned to lead the team at the CDC.”

Pozniak will replace Dr. Pierre Hucl (PhD), who has served as interim director since January 2020.

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