Seed World

Plant Breeders Carry the Weight of the World on Their Shoulders — Michael Gore

OK, it’s interviews like this that make me love my job. I’m jealous that I wasn’t the one who got to sit across from this amazing researcher and plant breeder. However, my boss and publisher, Mr. Shawn Brook, did get to catch up with him at the National Association of Planter Breeders’ annual meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s about a 14-minute interview with Michael Gore, an associate professor and plant breeder from Cornell University. Now you might be tempted to close out during the first couple minutes, but hang in there … he’s talking about some really cool stuff  — making rubber from a nearly wild desert shrub, hidden hunger, climate change and the importance of new breeding techniques.

If you need convincing that Gore is at the top of his game, here’s some background.

Michael Gore is an associate professor of molecular breeding and genetics for nutritional quality and international professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University. He is also a faculty fellow in the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and Cornell Institute for Food Systems. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a Ph.D from Cornell University.

Before joining the faculty at Cornell, he worked as a research geneticist with the USDA-ARS at the Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, Arizona. His expertise is in the field of quantitative genetics and genomics, especially the genetic dissection of metabolic seed traits related to nutritional quality. He also develops and applies field-based, high-throughput phenotyping tools for plant breeding and genetics research.

Gore teaches Nutritional Quality Improvement of Food Crops and High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping. He also teaches two short courses at the Tucson Plant Breeding Institute in Tucson, Arizona and other international locations, serves on the editorial boards of Crop Science, Theoretical and Applied Genetics, and Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, and serves as the Chair for the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee — the USDA-sponsored advisory group of representatives from land grant universities.

His career accomplishments in plant breeding and genetics earned him the National Association of Plant Breeders Early Career Scientist Award in 2012, the American Society of Plant Biologists Early Career Award in 2013, and the Maize Genetics Executive Committee Early Career Excellence in Maize Genetics Award in 2016.