SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — Curtis Pozniak, PhD, has been named the new director of the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan. He will succeed Pierre Hucl, PhD, who has been interim director since January 2020.

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

The CDC is focused on 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.”

Pozniak has been a faculty member at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources since 2003. He 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 journal Science.

He received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1999 and doctorate degree in plant genetics and breeding in 2002 from the University of Saskatchewan.

“We are thrilled to have such an exemplary CDC researcher take on this important role,” said 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.”