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Featured Researcher Bio - Shuyu Liu 2024


Meet Shuyu Liu, professor, small grains geneticist, and wheat breeder in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University. Liu started his first USWBSI project in 2022 focused on developing hard winter wheat doubled haploids and just recently transitioned into breeding FHB-resistant soft and hard red winter wheats adapted to Texas, the Gulf-Atlantic, and the Southern Great Plains.


Starting Early in FHB

Liu is originally from China. Growing up on a family farm, he was introduced to agriculture at an early age. He attended Shandong Agricultural University majoring in crop science. During this time, he read a biography about Norman Borlaug which grew his interest in the importance of improving food security and safety has since been at the forefront of his mind. After completing his bachelor of science degree, he began working as a wheat breeder at a provincial research institute. He then came to the United States and completed a master’s degree at Colorado State University and finally his doctorate degree in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2003, under the advisement of Anne McKendry. For his Ph.D. research, Liu focused on mapping QTL for type II resistance to FHB in the soft winter wheat cultivar ‘Ernie’. After graduation, Liu was a biologist and visiting fellow in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He later worked as a research scientist under the direction of Carl Griffey to develop scab resistant soft winter wheat cultivars and mapping QTL for FHB incidence and severity.


Transitioning from Genetic Traits to Breeder/Mentor

Since 2016, Liu has been a professor in small grain genetics and genomics at Texas A&M University. His research previously focused on genetic and genomic studies of important traits (i.e., drought and heat tolerance, disease and insect resistance, and end-use quality) for wheat in the Great Plains. He recently moved from the Amarillo Research Center to the main campus in College Station to start his new position as the wheat breeder. In his new position, Liu attends more in person seminars and workshops and interacts frequently with other faculty and graduate students. Teaching courses has become a major part of his new role as well as a new research focus on cultivar development.


Contributing to the FHB Community

Liu has been funded through the USWBSI for three years. His favorite aspect of the Initiative is the annual National Fusarium Head Blight Forum and how it’s organized. “All the components including host plant resistance, pathogen analyses, disease management, etc. are discussed together so we can have a whole picture of the problem,” said Liu.


Since his Ph.D. and postgraduate research were both on scab, Liu is glad to be back among the FHB community contributing efforts to manage this disease. His favorite part is developing FHB resistance germplasm or cultivars using available techniques, gene discovery, genomic assisted breeding, and high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping that will perform for growers.


For more information about Dr. Shuyu Liu's research, visit his faculty webpage.


To learn more about others in the FHB community, check out all the previous USWBSI Featured Researchers/Advocates.