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Featured Researcher Bio - Thomas Miedaner Oct 2022


Meet Thomas Miedaner, Ph.D., leader of the Rye Breeding and Research Group at the State Plant Breeding Institute, University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. He has been working on Fusarium for more than 30 years.


Fascinated with Fusarium Head Blight

Dr. Miedaner grew up in southwestern Germany in Ludwigshafen/Rhein, a city that is characterized by the chemical industry. It was here that he had his first experience in agriculture at the BASF experiment station. He then attended the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, and received his diploma in Agrobiology; and then his doctorate degree at the (then) Biological Federal Institute for Agriculture and Forestry, (former) Institute for Resistance Genetics, Grünbach. During his Ph.D., he worked on developing methods for resistance screening for Fusarium in wheat. During this time, only one other phytopathologist was studying Fusarium head blight in Germany. Miedaner was fascinated with the impact a single pathogen could have on food security. His research on Fusarium made his habilitation and associate professor of plant breeding.



Focused on Genomic Methods to Accelerate Resistance Breeding

After completing a post-doctoral position in a private breeding company, Dr. Miedaner returned to the University of Hohenheim to fill a post-doctoral researcher position on resistance to foot-rot pathogens in rye. After one year, he received the opportunity to lead the Rye Breeding and Research Group at the State Plant Breeding Institute. Since returning to the University, Miedaner has had the opportunity to shift his research focus back to Fusarium, at least partially. Today, his main research focuses on using genomic methods to accelerate resistance breeding and implementing selection for resistance in existing breeding programs (i.e., Fusarium, stripe rust, stem rust, ergot). On top of his research duties, he also has all the other responsibilities that come along with being a professor including creating lectures and guiding/advising bachelor, master, and Ph.D. students.


Dr. Miedaner loves the freedom his research gives him to operate and work with young people who are enthusiastic about research. These individuals and interactions inspire him, despite having to continuously apply for new funding. In addition, his ability to draw the breeding community’s awareness to Fusarium diseases is one of his greatest achievements. Miedaner’s biggest accomplishment regarding FHB research is focusing on the overall pathosystem by analyzing quantitative resistance in cereals through inoculating with one isolate and studying the aggressiveness of Fusarium isolates by inoculating many isolates on a few genotypes.


Presenting at the 2022 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum

Attend the 2022 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum on Sunday, December 4, 2022 in Tampa, Florida to hear Dr. Miedaner discuss the contribution of morphological traits, i.e., height, reduced height genes, and anther extrusion, on FHB resistance and methods for selecting for short-strawed FHB-resistant cultivars more efficiently.


If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Thomas Miedaner you can reach him via email.


You can also check out the series of previous USWBSI Featured Researchers.