Victorian scientist wins international wheat award

A scientist has been recognised at an international level for her dedication to wheat research and for paving the way for future female scientists.

Agriculture Victoria research scientist Dr Reem Joukhadar has been announced as a 2021 Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) Early Career award winner.

The Jeanie Borlaug Laube WIT Award provides professional development opportunities for women working in wheat.

Established in 2010 by the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), the award is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, mentor to many, and daughter of Nobel Laureate Dr Norman E. Borlaug.

The review panel of the BGRI was impressed by the strength of Dr Joukhadar’s scientific achievement, the commitment she showed toward wheat research on an international level, and her potential to mentor future female scientists.

Dr Joukhadar said she is thrilled to be recognised for this award and is honoured to be involved in carrying out Dr Borlaugs’s vision.

“My work inspires me because it provides solutions for the effects of climate change on nutrition and food security for current and future generations, to meet the required wheat production for our growing population.

“My current research focus is developing wheat cultivars with high grain yield, nutritional value, and ability to withstand future climate challenges using advanced molecular and computational tools”.

Originally from Syria, Dr Joukhadar works in computational biology at Agriculture Victoria based at AgriBio in Bundoora.

As a 2021 WIT early career awardee, Dr Joukhadar will be supported to attend the 2022 International Wheat Congress to be held from September 12 to 16, 2022, in Beijing, China.

Dr Joukhadar completed a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from the University of Aleppo, Syria in 2010, and then worked at the International Centre of Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, researching genetic control of major traits in wheat and biotic stresses that limit grain yield.

She then completed her PhD in molecular genetics at La Trobe University with Agriculture Victoria at AgriBio.

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