Executive Committee

President – Jamie Larsen

Dr. Jamie Larsen received his Ph.D. in Plant Agriculture with a focus on wheat breeding from the University of Guelph in 2012. From 2011 to 2018, his research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research and Development Centre focused on developing perennial wheat, perennial cereal rye, fall rye, winter durum and winter triticale for grain and livestock producers with the goal of maximizing the sustainability of cereal production systems through breeding, agronomy and molecular genetic approaches. In 2018, he transferred to the Harrow Research and Development Centre to revitalize the AAFC dry bean breeding program for Eastern Canada. The focus of his research program at Harrow is to breed for resistance to fungal, bacterial, viral and nematode pests. The program also places a large emphasis on method development in dry bean breeding, including speed breeding and incorporating near infrared reflectance spectroscopy and other high throughput methods to assess dry bean cooking and canning quality.

President- Elect – Harpinder Singh Randhawa

Dr. Harpinder Singh Randhawa is a Research Scientist (spring wheat breeding) working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Alberta since 2007. He has more than 25 years of experience and knowledge working on the different aspects of wheat breeding, genetics, pathology, biotechnology, molecular genetics and genomics. His breeding program integrates conventional breeding approaches along with marker assisted breeding, genomics, doubled haploid and other novel technologies for cultivar development. His prime focus is to breed cultivars in order to improve profitability and reduce business risk for farmers and processors. His other research interests include the identification of new sources of disease resistance in wheat, genetic mapping, doubled haploid production, and new breeding tools. Dr. Randhawa has participated in the registration of 12 high yielding spring wheat cultivars (3 CWSWS, 5 CPSR, 3 CWSP, 1 CWHW) and three triticale cultivars for general production in western Canada. He has published over 80 research articles in international journals, supervises many undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. He has attended over 45 National and International conferences. He is recipient of the Gold Harvest Award for Innovation, Collaboration and Service Excellence from the Science and Technology Branch, AAFC. Dr. Randhawa is also a recipient of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) 2021 Gene Stewardship Award as an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada wheat cultivar development team for long-standing innovations and strategies to combat wheat rust in Canada and around the world. He has been member of the Canadian Society of Agronomy since 2016 and served as Western Director from 2017-2019. Since 2016, he has worked as an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. Dr. Randhawa is currently a Science Team Lead for Plant Breeding and Pathology group at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre.

Past President – Mumtaz Cheema

Dr. Mumtaz A. Cheema, is a Professor – Agronomy in Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences Program, School of Science and the Environment, Memorial University of Newfoundland, NL, Canada. He has approximately thirty years experience in agricultural research, teaching, and outreach activities. His research focus is to develop productive and sustainable cropping systems to combat the challenges of food security amid climate change. Integrated nutrient management practices that conserve or enhance soil quality and health through efficient nutrient cycling is also focus of his research program. He is collaborating with three industry partners to develop and test growth media formulations (wood ash, paper sludge, dairy digestate, rock dust, etc.) to improve soil physiochemical and biological properties, and their effects on growth and quality of horticultural and field crops. Recently, he earned $1.3 Million research grant from Agricultural Clean Technology Program, Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (TCII), Fisheries and Land Resources (FLR) and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), to investigating the effects of crop rotation and nitrogen fertilizer stabilizers on soil quality and health; greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen losses, growth, yield and quality of forage crops in boreal climate. Dr Cheema has developed innovative seed priming techniques to induce vigor and stress tolerance in crops under abiotic stresses. He has established very strong research collaborations with the industry, Provincial and Federal organizations, and with colleagues in the Memorial University and other Universities nationally and internationally. He has published 120 peer reviewed research articles and authored four book chapters/monographs. He regularly participates and presents his research work in professional societies meetings, national and international conferences, symposiums and workshops. He also presented his research as an invited Keynote speaker in many international conferences. He is actively involved in teaching of undergraduate and graduate courses and training of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and lab assistants. Dr. Cheema has supervised/co-supervised 44 Master, and 10 PhD students. Currently, he is supervising 3 postdoctoral fellows, supervising or co-supervising 10 MSc and three PhD students. He is Program Chair and Graduate Officer of Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences Program. Dr. Cheema is actively involved in community services, editorial boards and a member of provincial research advisory committee. Before joining Memorial University, he was a visiting Professor at Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus Truro, and Professor of Agronomy at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

He has served the Canadian Society of Agronomy as an Eastern Director during 2017-2018 and was nominated for the position of President Elect in 2019.

Secretary/Treasurer – Gurcharn Singh Brar

Gurcharn Brar is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at The University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver. He obtained his PhD from the Crop Development Centre of the University of Saskatchewan in March 2019. Originally from Punjab, India, Gurcharn came to Canada to pursue an MSc after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Honours in Crop Protection) degree from the renowned Punjab Agricultural University, India. Gurcharn’s graduate training focused on the study of plant pathogens, genetics/genomics of pathogen populations, genetics of host- pathogen interactions, resistance breeding, and plant imaging obtained through the University of Saskatchewan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, National Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Light Source, and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre. Currently, Gurcharn is working in the areas of crop pathology, resistance breeding, cereal genetics, and functional pathogenomics with collaborators from across Canada, the USA, the UK, and Australia. In the past, Gurcharn has served on several positions and commitiees in the Canadian Phytopathological Society, Canadian Society of Agronomy, Saskatchewan Advisory Council on Grain Crops, Plant Science Graduate Student Association of University of Saskatchewan, and Saskatoon Science Fair Commitee. Gurcharn is a regular member of several professional societies including Canadian Society of Agronomy.

Western Director – Hiroshi Kubota


Hiroshi Kubota is a research scientist in sustainable crop management at the Lacombe Research and Development Centre, AAFC. He received his PhD in Plant Science from the University of Alberta in 2018. Since 2019, he has focused on developing agronomy practices that improve economic and environmental sustainability in both conventional and organic cropping systems. He currently has three focal research areas: 1) cropping system diversity – to improve resilience to biotic and abiotic stress in fields; 2) cropping practice diversity – to provide tools for producers whose goals are improving/maintaining yield while reducing negative impacts on the environment; 3) integrated crop management – to optimize usage of natural resources for crop production in an environmentally and economically sound manner.

Western Director – Kui Liu

Dr. Kui Liu is an agronomist at the Swift Current Research and Development Centre, AAFC. He conducted his Ph.D. study in organic cropping systems integrating perennial forages and soil amendments. He has experience in assessing how beneficial management practices affect soil and nutrient losses at the field and watershed scale by participating in WEBs projects. His future research will focus on developing crop management practices that improve yield and enhance ecosystem services and the resilience of cropping systems. He is currently involving in several crop rotation studies, where a systems approach is applied to understand the biologic processes and complicated biotic and abiotic interactions in intensively managed cropping systems.

Eastern Director – Kathleen Glover

Dr. Glover completed a degree in agricultural science from the University of Guelph where she majored in Crop Science. She then did a M.Sc. at the University of Guelph specializing in forage agronomy and quantitative genetics. Dr. Glover went on to do a Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Dalhousie University studying the genetic origins of tRNAs in plant mitochondria.  Following her Ph.D. she worked in private industry conducting applied research in both field and horticultural crops and was subsequently employed as a research chair/associate professor at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College where her research focused on using nutrigenomic approaches to understand the effects of fresh forage and lipid supplementation on ruminant animal metabolism and productivity.  She also worked with government and industry partners to help improve pasture management for grass-fed beef production. Dr. Glover joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Kentville Research and Development Centre (co-located in Truro) in May 2017, as a forage agronomist. She has over 30 years experience in Plant Science Research including both basic and applied sciences.

Eastern Director – Milad Eskandari

Dr. Milad Eskandari is an associate professor at the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown. Milad’s breeding and research program focuses on developing food-grade soybean cultivars and germplasm with improved agronomic and seed quality traits as well as resistance to important diseases of soybean that address the specific needs of Ontario’s soybean growers and end-users. The program is also focused on advancing knowledge in the areas of high throughput phenotyping and genotyping in soybean with a goal of developing more efficient breeding methods that facilitate the development of new cultivars.

Milad had completed his B.Sc. in Engineering Agriculture and his M.Sc. in Plant Breeding and Agronomy in Iran before moving to Canada in 2006. He obtained his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Guelph in 2012. Since 2013 that Milad has taken over the current position, he has participated in the release of 11 soybean cultivars and several germplasm. He has authored and co-authored 26 peer reviewed research papers and cultivar descriptions. Milad has graduated three Master’s students and currently advises four graduate students. He currently serves as a member of Soybean Genetic Committee and the coordinator for the Early Maturity Group 2 (MG2) zone on the Ontario soybean and Canola Committee.

Student Representative – Nate Ort

Nate is a PhD student in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan advised by Dr. Rosalind Bueckert. Their research is on nitrogen metabolism and stress physiology in early maturing soybean. He has a Diploma in Agriculture (Crop Management), Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Agronomy), and Master of Science (Plant Science) all from the University of Manitoba. Following the completion of his Master of Science degree and prior to starting his PhD Nate was an Agronomy Specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. Nate is passionate about communicating science and promoting agronomic management practices that increase crop production, are environmentally robust, and improve economic return. He is excited about researching with farmers, agronomists, communities, and other scientists, and loves exploring creative and practical concepts that are agricultural and environmental advantageous.


Industry Representative – Dr. Jagroop Gill Kahlon

Dr. Jagroop Gill Kahlon, after finishing her PhD in plant science with specialization in Environmental biosafety of transgenic crops from the University of Alberta, joined Alberta Pulse Growers Commission as research officer. She has won several CSA awards as a student and was also winner of the prestigious WGRF scholarship. At her current job, she thoroughly enjoys being the vessel between the farmers, industry and researchers, and part of the larger industry that is working strenuously to bring issues of western Canadian agricultural research to forefront. She’s also lead for ‘plot to field’ research program by Alberta Pulse, where she and the team, researches and develops best management practices for pulse growers in field scale experiments across Alberta.

CJPS Representative – Ben Thomas

Ben is a Research Scientist in Agassiz, British Columbia with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where he started as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Lethbridge, Alberta in 2016. Ben has authored or co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications. His research has mostly involved carbon, nitrogen and/or phosphorus cycling in response to organic amendments, cover crop management, land use changes and cattle grazing, as well as soil health and edaphic microbial responses to long-term intensive management practices. Ben received his Ph.D. from McGill University in 2016, where he studied labile soil organic matter and nitrogen mineralization in manure-amended soils of the Saint Lawrence Lowlands in Quebec, while also studying nitrogen dynamics in poultry manure-amended soils as a Visiting Scholar at Trent University in Ontario. Ben completed his Master of Resource and Environmental Management at Dalhousie University. There, he studied how compost and fertigation rates interacted to effect fruit yield and quality in strawberry plasticulture in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Ben earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Prince Edward Island where he focused on plant science, food production and philosophy. Ben is now in his second term as the Agronomy Section Editor of the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. Ben is also an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. Ben would like to hear your questions, concerns, or suggestions for improving the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, so please feel free to contact him.