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Personal profile

Research Interests

The plant breeding and genetics group led by Prof. Poland at KAUST is focused on the formidable questions of how to develop climate resilient crops to address the grand challenges of food security in the coming generations. Prof. Poland leads work on important crops including wheat and date palm to better understand the dynamic plant genomes and increasing genetic gain in crop breeding. The group has active research in quantitative genetics and genetic diversity studies including crop wild relatives using association genetics, genomics and high-throughput phenotyping. In collaboration with public breeding programs, Prof. Poland is implementing the use of genomic selection and high-throughput phenotyping to accelerate breeding in wheat, intermediate wheatgrass and other species. Looking at the grand challenges facing agriculture, the lab is also focused on species with extreme stress tolerance such as saltgrass (Distichlis spp.) that can grow in salinity at the level of seawater. Neodomestication, breeding and cultivation of such species could provide a trajectory change for agriculture in the face of hotter climates and rapidly shrinking water reserves.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


Plant Breeding and Genetics, Ph.D., Cornell University


Plant Pathology, M.S., Kansas State University


Agronomy, B.S., Kansas State University



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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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