WIT Award Year: 2015
Organization: The Land Institute
Country: United States
Kathryn Turner received a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Austin College in 2008. As an intern at The Land Institute in 2005, she developed an interest in plant breeding. After working on a small farm, Kathryn began her graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. In 2012, she earned a M.S. from the University of Minnesota and then a Ph.D in 2015. Through her Master’s work on perennial wheat, Kathryn characterized resistance to the Ug’99 stem rust race family and Fusarium head blight. Her PhD project focused on identifying durable leaf rust resistance genes in Minnesota varieties and using biparental and association mapping approaches to identify novel resistance in world-wide wheat accessions through the TCAP (Triticeae Coordinated Agriculture Project). Kathryn is currently a post doc at The Land Institute and will be working to understand the genomic changes that result from the wide cross between annual wheat and perennial wheatgrass to develop perennial wheat. She will also focus on improving disease resistance in future perennial grain crops, with an emphasis on the durability of resistance. She is interested in developing crops for long term productivity and resource conservation.