Heartland Plant Innovations Hires New Chief Scientist

Release Date: 
Monday, August 11, 2014

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Heartland Plant Innovations (HPI) is happy to announce the hiring of Dr. Muhammad Asif as its new Chief Scientist.  Asif will be charged with leading HPI’s scientific efforts including novel trait development as well as the Advanced Plant Breeding Services.  HPI offers wheat doubled haploids, wide hybridization/trait introgression, and genotyping as services to customers world-wide.  All services are provided without claim to intellectual property which makes HPI attractive to wheat breeders working on advanced germplasm. 

Asif comes to HPI with over 10 years of experience in wheat improvement including doubled haploids – both maize and microspore method - marker assisted breeding, and variety development.  Asif most recently has served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Agriculture, Food Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Canada focusing on the development of genetic resistance from pyramiding rust (leaf, stem and stripe) resistance genes.  Asif’s graduate education was received at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada where he co-developed a hard red spring wheat germplasm line (PT771) which exhibits Fusarium Head Blight resistance.  Asif has written extensively, including two books recently published by Springer, USA.  The books are titled “Progress and Opportunities of Doubled Haploid Production”, and “Managing and Breeding Wheat for Organic Systems: Enhancing Competitiveness Ability against Weeds.”     

HPI’s Interim President and Chief Financial Officer, Rob Berard, speaking in regard to Asif’s hiring said

“I am very excited to have Asif join HPI.  It was obvious based on his experience in wheat improvement that his research focus aligned with HPI’s mission, however in getting to know him during the interview process it became clear that this his personality was also a fit.  It became a simple decision to hire Asif.  I can’t wait to get him thinking about the work of HPI on a full time basis.  Our customers will benefit greatly, I am confident.”

HPI provides customers with advanced plant breeding services and high-value genetic traits.  HPI’s breeding services include wheat doubled haploids, wide hybridization, and genotyping.   HPI has produced and sold over 40,000 doubled haploids to 21 Universities, 5 USDA labs, and 8 private companies in 5 countries.  In late 2013, HPI relocated into the state-of-the-art Kansas Wheat Innovation Center which provides HPI with the capacity to produce up to 50,000 doubled haploid lines per year as well as development of wheat traits.  As a research partner HPI is sponsoring multiple research programs at Kansas State University focused on wheat and sorghum.  These projects are seeking to increase the yields and end use performance of wheat, based on input from our industry partners.