Dr Susan McCouch, Professor in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University, took journey of a lifetime that reframed her understanding of humanity and charted the course for her life’s work in rice breeding.
Susan’s Plant Breeding Story began with a hitchhiking adventure from Boston to Buenos Aires which opened her eyes to society’s food challenges and motivated her to pursue a career in agriculture. We learn about the obstacles she had to overcome to earn her PhD degree in plant breeding and genetics as a new mother, and why she jumped at the chance to develop the first genetic map of rice. She recalls her post graduate work with IRRI in the Philippines, where she helped implement genomics and molecular breeding techniques and train the next generation of rice breeders. She shares how these experiences led to the internationally-respected rice breeding program at Cornell University and its open-source ethos which guides progress and helps solve modern-day agricultural challenges globally.