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Catherine Feuillet

Catherine Feuillet was awarded an IWGSC Outstanding Leadership Award in recognition and appreciation for her unwavering leadership, support, and dedication to the IWGSC. She received her award in January 2018, at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG) in San Diego, United States.

Catherine Feuillet award
Kellye, Catherine, Bikram, Rudi

Kellye Eversole, Catherine Feuillet, Bikram Gil and Rudi Appels

As a member of the Leadership team since the beginning of the Consortium in 2005, Catherine has been instrumental in all aspects of the IWGSC development over the years, from establishing the overall vision to defining the strategic roadmap to deliver a high quality genome sequence for end-users.

At PAG, Kellye Eversole presented Catherine with the award on behalf of the other members of the Board of directors and Leadership team. She recalled how 13 years ago, Catherine joined her, Rudi Appels, and Bikram Gil, and helped launched the IWGSC with a vision of completing a useful sequence of bread wheat for the breeding community. She thanked Catherine for the leadership she provided throughout all those years and for helping bring this project to fruition this year.

Reached by email after the award ceremony, Catherine’s fellow Board member, Rudi Appels and Beat Keller added: “The optimism and enthusiasm of Catherine for obtaining a high-quality wheat genome sequence was essential during all the years of struggle to achieve this goal. Catherine was very much the scientific voice of the fledgling IWGSC and her essential scientific contributions convinced all of us that the IWGSC vision was not a “mission impossible” but rather a goal that can be reached. Very importantly, the work of her group in establishing a high quality sequence of chromosome 3B paved the way for the further analysis of the wheat genome. Catherine has been a great colleague to work with and IWGSC would not have advanced as much as we have, without her contributions and energy devoted to reach our goals.”

Visibly deeply touched by the award, Catherine thanked everybody for their involvement with the IWGSC: “I have been sitting in these meeting for the past 13 years and seeing the outcome of this adventure we started in 2005, seeing were we are now in this community and the number of people involved now, makes me really happy. Having the sequence is great but the human adventure is better than everything. It has been a privilege to serve this community of diverse, dedicated and passionate people all these years, we have accomplished so much together. Thank you all for all that.”

As people are celebrating the IWGSC success in delivering the wheat reference sequence, Catherine has decided that it was time for her to step down as a Board and Leadership team member. She will continue to be a member of the IWGSC and to support the Consortium in its next phase.

Catherine is Head of Trait Research at Bayer CropScience, a company she joined in July 20013 after working for 20 years on wheat genetics at academic institutions in Switzerland (University of Zurich) and France (INRA – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – in Clermont-Ferrand).

With her team at INRA, she had been at the forefront of wheat sequencing research by achieving the first physical map and reference sequence of a bread wheat chromosome (3B), establishing a proof of concept for a strategy that was subsequently adopted for sequencing all wheat chromosomes within the IWGSC. Now at Bayer, she applies her experience and knowledge in wheat research to provide solutions to improve wheat production taking advantage of game changing resources such as the IWGSC Reference Sequence to accelerate Bayer wheat projects.