New durum wheat breeder

Bertrand (Bert) Collard joined NSW DPI as the new durum wheat breeder in April 2009. He has more than 10 years research experience in crop molecular genetics and breeding.
Bert Collard will lead the Australian Durum What Improvement Program - a collaborative research alliance between NSW DPI, University of Adelaide, and GRDC.

His principal objectives are to develop improved varities that will underpin increased production to at least 1 million tonne annually. He is replacing Dr Ray Hare.

Bert completed his PhD degree from the University of Melbourne studying the genetics of resistance to ascochyta blight in wild relatives of chickpea. He also studied genetics and identifying DNA markers for crown rot resistance in bread wheat at the University of Southern Queensland (Toowoomba) as a postdoctoral fellow (2003-2004).

During work with at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines (2005-2006) he applied DNA markers in the rice molecular breeding program. He also worked on developing rice breeding material with abiotic stress tolerances and optimizing and developing DNA marker genotyping protocols. Bert then worked as a Research Scientist at the Hermitage Research Station, Warwick within QDPI in molecular breeding and genetic analysis in barley and sorghum (2006-2007) and as a Research Scientist at the Victorian AgriBioSciences Centre (Bundoora, Melbourne) within Vic DPI in the animal molecular genomics research group (2008).  

His role was to implement cutting-edge high throughput DNA marker platforms and use bioinformatics resources to study important bovine traits.

He has also done some lecturing in Genetics and Molecular Biology at RMIT University ( Melbourne ) to 1 st and 2 nd year students. 

Bert moved up to Tamworth with his wife, who also has a background in crop genetics research, and (identical) twin 3-year-old sons.