Nils Stein was awarded an IWGSC Leadership Award in recognition and appreciation of his leadership in the production of the IWGSC whole genome assembly of bread wheat. He received his award in January 2017 at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG) in San Diego, United States.
Advancements in science often require leaders who will take risks and try something new and different. This is exactly what Nils did in first identifying the NRGene assembly software as something promising, bringing it to the attention of the IWGSC, securing the funding for a whole genome assembly of bread wheat, and ensuring that the project was rapidly completed. The resulting assembly was a breakthrough for achieving a high quality genome sequence for bread wheat and by combining it with the chromosome-based resources, the IWGSC was able to release a reference quality assembly in January 2017. Truly, this would not have happened without the leadership of Nils.
Nils is Group Leader of the Genomics of Genetic Resources group at the Leibnitz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben, Germany.
Nils research group is interested in the dynamics and the diversity of the genomes of three Triticeae species – wheat, barley and rye – and how the genomic features contribute to the agronomic performance of the crops. Their research focuses on sequencing the genomes of barley, wheat and rye. This information is then used for improving methods and strategies for harnessing allelic diversity of plant genetic resources and for elucidating the genetic basis of important characteristics of the species.