Executive Committee

President Sheri Strydhorst

Sheri Strydhorst is a cereal agronomic research scientist for the Livestock and Crops Research Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry based in Barrhead, Alberta. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta – Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences.

Her work focuses on enhancing the profitability and competitiveness of Canadian agricultural crop producers. Her research program centres on maximizing the genetic potential of cereal cultivars by using cultivar specific agronomic management. 

She completed her BSc, MSc and PhD at the University of Alberta. Her MSc work centered on developing agronomic practices for low tannin faba bean production and her PhD studied rotational benefits of pulse crops. She then worked as the Executive Director for the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission. Sheri returned to agronomic research in 2013 where her research activities focused on cereal crop agronomy. She works on advanced agronomic practices including: nitrogen fertility, plant growth regulators and foliar fungicides. Her most interesting work involves studying different responses of these agronomic practices on various wheat cultivars. Sheri Strydhorst focuses on extension of her applied research so that it can be implemented on-farm. She has strong partnerships with industry and is currently collaborating with SeCan, BASF and Syngenta. Sheri authored or co-authored 11 peer-reviewed papers and has made over 100 invited presentations at producer meetings to over 6000 producers, agronomists and scientists.  Currently she co-supervises a graduate student, sits on two graduate student committees and serves as an external examiner for numerous graduate student defenses. 

She is a member of the Canadian Society of Agronomy (CSA), American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Prairie Grains Development Committee (PGDC), Alberta Regional Variety Advisory Committee, Wheat Initiative – Agronomy Expert Working Group Member, and Breton Plots Management Team.  She has been a member of the organizing committee for CSA annual meetings in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Sheri Strydhorst was raised in St. Albert, Alberta, but now farms with her husband, Shane in Neerlandia, Alberta.

President – Elect Andrew Burt

Andrew Burt is a research scientist and spring wheat breeder working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada based at the Ottawa Research and Development Centre. Andrew’s research program focusses on developingspring wheat cultivars for Eastern Canada, from Prince Edward Island to North-Western Ontario, with good agronomy, excellent disease resistance, and good quality for the end user. Andrew obtained his MSc Biology from the University of Ottawa and his PhD in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph in 2011. He was trained in a maize breeding program that focussed on inbred development and worked as a research associated in a dry bean breeding program before joining AAFC in 2014 to direct spring wheat breeding programs for the Northern and Eastern Prairies while based in Brandon MB. In 2018 Andrew relocated to Ottawa to focus on breeding for Eastern Canada. To this point of his career, Andrew has participated in the release of 44 maize inbred lines, five dry bean cultivars, and gained support to register six wheat lines; he has authored and co-authored 19 peer reviewed research papers, and five published cultivar descriptions. Since 2014 he has worked as an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Science.

Past – President Jaswinder SinghJaswinder new photo 2

Dr. Jaswinder Singh is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Science, McGill University, Canada. Dr. Singh received his PhD from the University of Sydney and CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra Australia and did his postdoctoral studies at the University of California Berkeley, U.S.A. His research focuses on the enhancement of quality traits, stress tolerance and bioenergy capability of crop plants using modern genomic, molecular breeding and biotechnological tools. Dr. Singh is an internationally recognized innovator in the use of transposon tagging in cereal crops. His findings have shown for the first time the reversal of epigenetic silencing in plants. Recently, his laboratory discovered a key gene that acts as a switch to determine how a particular plant responds to high humidity and excess rainfall. The research opens up a new epigenetic-based direction for exploration of seed dormancy and Pre Harvest Sprouting (PHS). He has delivered 47 invited talks in international meetings and renowned academic institutes. He has published over 48 research articles in high impact peer reviewed journals, books and conference proceedings. He also presented his research at prestigious conferences and published 78 abstracts. Additionally, he is actively involved in teaching plant breeding, plant biotechnology, genetics, plant biology courses, training graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and lab assistants. To date, he has trained 44 researchers, which include undergraduate, technicians, graduate students and PDFs. Beside this, he is an editor for two international journals (Canadian Journal of Plant Science, PLOS ONE) and a reviewer for numerous granting agencies. He is honored to serve as panel member for various national and international funding organizations including US Department of Energy, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He has served as Eastern Director of Canadian Society of Agronomy (2010-2012), executive member of International Committee of the American Society of Plant Biologists (2012-15) and executive committee member of International Association of Plant Biotechnology- Canada (2013-2014). He is currently a member of Gleb Krotkov award committee of the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists. In addition, he has successfully co-chaired two prestigious conferences (Canadian Plant Biotechnology -2014 and CSA-CSHS -2016) in Montreal.

Secretary/Treasurer Douglas Cattaniphoto Cattani

Doug has been involved primarily with perennial horticultural, forage and now perennial grain and oilseed crops over the past 30 years. He completed his undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Manitoba and PhD at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He has been employed in academia, government and private industry and has worked in both Canada and the United States. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba with teaching responsibilities at the diploma, undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of genetics and breeding, and agronomy of forage production. The areas of research that he is currently involved in are: herbaceous perennial crop development and agronomy (food, feed and forage); genetics as related to perennial crops; plant developmental morphology as it relates to both crop establishment and productivity; seed production and quality of herbaceous perennial crops; and the utilization of herbaceous perennials in the both agricultural and non-agricultural environments. He is also interested in the utilization of native plant materials for agricultural purposes, both as food and feed crops and for ancillary purposes (e.g. N2-fixation). “I believe in strong professional societies to foster professional development, for networking and to provide for the development of the next generation of agricultural professionals in Canada.”

Western Director Laurel Thompson

Laurel Thompson is an agronomic research scientist in North East Alberta.  Her work focuses on agronomic solutions to increase cereal production and profitability, and has recently grown to include pulse crop research. Laurel explores interactions between cereal genetics, agronomic management practices, and the environment to assist producers in making targeted agronomic decisions. She has also taught the fungicide physiology component of the PlSc 470 undergraduate course at the University of Alberta since 2016, and she provides teaching support for faculty in the Crop Technology program at Lakeland College.

Laurel Thompson was raised in Slave Lake, AB, and now farms grain and cattle with her husband, Duncan, in Mannville, AB. She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Alberta. Her MSc work centered on assessing advanced agronomic practices for maximizing feed barley production, and on the interactions between feed barley genetics, advanced agronomic management, and the environment. Laurel has been in the Crop Research Scientist role at Lakeland College for four growing seasons, where she has grown and developed the agronomic research program in Vermilion, AB. Laurel’s work at Lakeland College focuses on agronomic solutions to increase profitability and efficiencies for producers at the farm-level, and she works on cereal, pulse, and oilseed crops. Since 2016, Laurel has developed the new research program to include cereal and pulse agronomy and varietal performance, and a strong extension component to local crop producers and industry. Recently, her work has focused on wheat and malt barley responses to various mixtures of plant growth regulators.

Laurel Thompson has developed strong partnerships both university and government researchers, and with industry. Current industry collaborators include Mosaic, Syngenta, SeCan, Engage Agro, and Anuvia. Laurel is the lead author on 3 peer-reviewed papers and is a member of the Canadian Society of Agronomy (CSA) and American Society of Agronomy (ASA).

Western Director Gurcharn Brar

Gurcharn Brar is a Research Officer at the Crop Development Centre and the Department of Plant Science at the University of Saskatchewan. He obtained his PhD from the same department 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 gene cloning and functional pathogenomics with collaborators from across Canada, the USA, the UK, and Australia. Gurcharn has published 14 peer- reviewed full-length research papers and 13 peer-reviewed (not refereed) disease survey reports in the Canadian Plant Disease Survey journal; supervised 5 undergraduate students for their six-credit thesis research; chaired a conference/ symposium in 2017 and many sessions at scientific meetings of professional societies across North America; and delivered many research presentations (including many invited talks) to his peers, extension talks on field days to growers. 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.

Eastern Director 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.

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. 

Student Representative Caleb Niemeyer

Caleb Niemeyer completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 2017 from the University of Guelph, majoring in Crop, Horticulture, and Turfgrass Science. During the summers between years of university he worked for Reesor Seed and Grain, a farm input supplier in Stouffville, Ontario and Pioneer as a Technical Sales Intern based in Guelph, Ontario. As an undergraduate, he was a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Manish Raizada working on improved plant nitrogen tests and nitrogen fixation in legumes. He began his MSc in Plant Agriculture in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Bill Deen at the University of Guelph and is the recipient of an NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship. His research focuses on improving corn nitrogen fertilizer recommendations using rainfall effects on crop nitrogen demand.

Editor of CJPS Brian Beres

Brian Beres, CSA PresidentDr. Beres is a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta. Dr. Beres started his career path as a teacher in southern Alberta after obtaining Bachelor’s degrees in Education and Geography. However, the allure of scientific research, which he was exposed to as a summer student at AAFC, inspired him to change career paths whereupon he obtained a Master’s and PhD from the University of Alberta. Dr. Beres established an agronomy program in 2000 and leads several multidisciplinary projects developing innovative and integrated crop management systems. Dr. Beres publishes in the areas of agronomy and crop science and has been the author or co-author of 46 peer-reviewed research articles and 1 book chapter. He is a member and President-elect of the Canadian Society of Agronomy, active member of the American Societies for Agronomy, Crops and Soils, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. Dr. Beres and his co-authors were the recipients of the 2013 Canadian Journal of Plant Science Best Paper Award. He maintains close ties with both producer organizations and several national and multinational private companies that have a stake in crop production systems and life sciences research. Dr. Beres has several international collaborations and represents Canada on the Research Committee of the International Wheat Initiative. Dr. Beres is the past-Chair of the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye, and Triticale and led this cross-sectorial group through a review of the current registration process to ensure any impediments to the pace of delivering new genetics to the marketplace were removed.