Heartland Plant Innovations Expands Doubled Haploid Wheat Staff

Release Date: 
Friday, October 22, 2010

MANHATTAN, Kan., Oct. 22, 2010 - Two specialists have joined the staff of Heartland Plant Innovations to work in the company's Advanced Plant Breeding Services division, specializing in the Doubled Haploid program for improved wheat varieties.

Dr. Forrest Chumley, President of HPI, said "We are very fortunate to have hired such a talented, experienced team to launch HPI's wheat doubled haploid business. These young scientists have outstanding records of success with challenging plant research systems. Our customers have great expectations for HPI, and this team gives me confidence we'll hit the mark."

Dr. Chenggen Chu is will lead the Advanced Plant Breeding Services division as manager. A native of Anhui Province, China, he earned a Ph.D. in Plant Science at North Dakota State University. After his Ph.D., Dr. Chu moved to USDA's prestigious Northern Crop Science Laboratory in Fargo, where he conducted postdoctoral research using doubled haploid lines for discovery of new genetic traits in wheat.

Dr. Chu has a B.S. in Biology Education from Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China and a M.S. in Crop Breeding and Genetics from Nanging Agricultural University in Nanjing, China. Chu and his wife, Kele Hui, have one son, Huixing Chu, a student at Lee Elementary.

Jessica Goebel joined HPI as research associates, with a focus on plant tissue culture, greenhouse research and brainstorming.

Goebel, who grew up in Wichita, earned a B.S. in Horticulture from K-State in 2008. She brings laboratory and greenhouse research experience to HPI after spending nearly a year at Edenspace Systems Corporation in Manhattan.

The HPI Advanced Plant Breeding Services division uses laboratory space and equipment at K-State, thanks in part to funding from the Kansas Bioscience Authority. In time, HPI's doubled haploid facility will be housed in the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, a new office, greenhouse and laboratory complex on K-State's north campus.

Based in Manhattan, Heartland Plant Innovations was created by the farmer-stakeholders of the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers in 2009. A number of private and public agribusiness companies and individuals are investors in the business, which is intended to boost research and technology for wheat, sorghum and plants native to Kansas.