Eminent rice scientist now leads SEA centre for agriculture

  • 15 May 2019

Sources: Borneo Bulletin, World Times News
15 May 2019

A DISTINGUISHED rice scientist now heads the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

Dr Glenn B Gregorio assumed the top SEARCA post on May 1, 2019 for a three-year term.

For more than 50 years, SEARCA has been strengthening capacities of institutions working in agriculture and rural development in Southeast Asia, including Brunei Darussalam, through graduate education and institutional development, research and development, and knowledge management.

Dr Gregorio is also an Academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) of the Philippines and a professor at the Institute of Crop Science of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) College of Agriculture and Food Science.

He brings with him to SEARCA not only his expertise in plant genetics and breeding, but also his international experience in research and administration.

While serving the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for almost 30 years, Dr Gregorio has bred more than 15 rice varieties, most of which are salt-tolerant varieties that have greatly helped farmers in Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

He also led efforts to develop micronutrient-dense rice varieties to address anaemia and malnutrition in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Prior to joining SEARCA, he was also the global lead of the East-West Seed Company's sweet corn and waxy corn breeding programmes for South and Southeast Asia, the Latin Americas, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Gregorio has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Outstanding Young Scientist Award (OYS 2004) and Outstanding Publication Award given by NAST; The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM 2004) in the field of Agriculture-Plant Breeding and Genetics; the Ho Chi Minh Medal Award for great contribution to the cause of agriculture and rural development in Vietnam; Ten Outstanding Youth Scientists (TOYS 1981) of the Philippines given by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines; Honorary Scientist, Rural Development Administration (RDA), Korea; and other awards for his outstanding research and research management achievements.

He has authored and co-authored at least 90 articles published in various scientific journals, chapters on rice breeding in 14 books, and five scientific manuals and bulletins.

He mentored and supervised 20 PhD and 27 MS graduate students and more than 40 BS students in plant breeding and genetics at UPLB and other universities in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America; and he continues to hone scientists and future scientists as a mentor and teacher.

Dr Gregorio obtained his PhD in Genetics, MS in Plant Breeding, and BS in Agriculture at UPLB.