Plant Breeding Academy
Plant Breeding Academy
Plant Breeding Academy
University of California
Plant Breeding Academy

Rob Dirks joins European PBA as an instructor, Class V open for registration

Dr. Robert Dirks
Dr. Robert Dirks, an outstanding scientist and plant breeder, has joined the team of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) as an instructor with the upcoming EPBA Class V. He recently retired from his position of Research Manager with Rijk Zwaan and will focus on service to the plant breeding industry through consulting and education of a new generation of plant breeders.

Dr. Dirks spent over thirty years managing research programs in the private industry. He made outstanding contributions in development and implementation of novel technologies for plant breeding, including: development of doubled haploids in cucumber, a protoplast system for carrot, a transformation method for melon, a technology for inducing conditional male sterility, a method for making chromosome substitution lines and libraries without transgenic steps, and a strategy for suppression of meiotic recombination that created a technology widely known as Reverse Breeding.

His contributions are recognized with numerous patents, commercial varieties and the market-leading position of the organization he headed. “Dr. Dirks is a scientist and breeder with an exceptional track record. His career achievements are a real inspiration for future generations of plant breeders. We are absolutely delighted that Dr. Dirks will join the team of our core instructors.” Dr. Rale Gjuric, Director of Plant Breeding Academy.

The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is a postgraduate program that teaches the fundamentals of plant breeding, genetics and statistics through lectures, discussion, and field trips to public and private breeding programs. Employers appreciate the opportunity to provide their valued employees advanced training without disrupting their full-time employment. Participants in the European PBA attend six 6-day sessions in six countries. The instructors are internationally recognized experts in plant breeding and seed technology.

The UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy Class V starting in October 2017 will include new topics that reflect the most recent developments in plant breeding theory and practice. Applications are now being accepted.

For more information on the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy visit or contact Joy Patterson at


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