Wheat Sequencing Consortium Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors

Wheat Sequencing Consortium Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors

The IWGSC is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Burt, Pierre Devaux, John Jacobs, Yann Manès and Pierre Sourdille as new Board members of the organization.

The Board establishes the overall vision and mission of the Consortium and ensures the implementation of the strategic decisions made by the Coordinating Committee.


Chris Burt is the Cereal Genotyping Manager for RAGT Seeds , where he takes the strategic lead for application of genotyping technologies across RAGT wheat breeding programs. In addition, he is responsible for trait discovery and SNP identification across the cereal species, including both internal research and extensive public-private partnerships. The research conducted within Chris Burt’s group translates from reference genomes and sequencing data in wheat through to molecular markers that are used to select for wheat varieties that are grown globally. He has been a member of the IWGSC Coordinating Committee since 2016.


Pierre Devaux is Director of Research and Innovation at Florimond Desprez Group, a family-owned plant breeding company based in France. He is currently managing four research departments including Omics & Biotechnologies, Applied Genetics and Biometry, Pests and Diseases and a Research Service Platform. He has been working on sugar and fodder beets, cereals, potato and other secondary crops. Pierre has been a member of the IWGSC Coordinating Committee since 2011.


John Jacobs is a Program Leader in Trait Research at the BASF Innovation Center in Ghent, Belgium. John has been with BASF and predecessor companies since the late 90’s, with roots in the plant biotechnology pioneering company Plant Genetic Systems. John’s current research project at BASF focuses on hybrid wheat and oilseed rape, with a special interest in hybridization systems and tools and technologies for breeding. John has been a member of the IWGSC Coordinating Committee since 2011.


Yann Manès is Cereal Strategy and External Collaborations Lead at Syngenta in France. He has extensive experience in wheat breeding in public and private sectors. Yann started his career in 1988 as wheat breeder for two private companies in France, on hybrid and conventional wheat, and then worked for CIMMYT in Mexico. Yann joined Syngenta in 2012 where he held various management positions in cereal breeding. Yann is very passionate about wheat: “it is a beautiful crop, very expressive and touching by its complexity, obviously key for staple food supply, giving such a good ground to scientists to work together.”


Pierre Sourdille joined INRAE ( UMR GDEC , Clermont-Ferrand, France) in 1995 after working six years for a private breeding company. As a Research Director, his research focuses on unlocking the constraints imposed by the natural control of meiotic recombination to accelerate the production of new varieties better adapted to stress. His team has developed innovative tools and applied in wheat ground-breaking technologies usually reserved to model species. He was present at the onset of the IWGSC in 2005 and has been a member of the Coordinating Committee since then.

The new appointments come as Etienne Paux (formerly INRAE) and Sebastien Praux (Limagrain) stepped down from the IWGSC Board as they are pursuing career paths unrelated to wheat.

Modification date: 16 August 2023 | Publication date: 30 September 2021 | By: ic