Dr. Anita Brûlé-Babel – 2016 Honorary Life Award Recipient

AnitaDr. Anita Brûlé-Babel is a professor in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba working in the area of wheat breeding and genetics. Having served the seed industry in a number of ways, one of her primary contributions is the training of undergraduate and graduate students in the area of plant breeding and genetics. Many of these students are now working in industry or government positions as plant breeders or associate plant breeders.

Anita grew up on a mixed farm near Prince Albert, Sask., and received her bachelor and doctorate degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. She has been married to her husband Ken for 36 years and has two grown daughters. She has been with the University of Manitoba since 1987.

Her winter wheat breeding program focuses on the development of high-yielding, disease resistant winter wheat cultivars that are adapted to the eastern Prairies. Anita has conducted research in a number of areas, including inheritance of leaf spot and fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance in wheat, and the inheritance of herbicide resistance in weeds such as wild oat, green foxtail, and wild mustard. She has published research assessing the potential for gene flow among genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered crops.

Anita is involved in both national and international collaborations working on FHB in wheat and is responsible for coordinating a large FHB screening nursery in Carman, Man., that generates data for all wheat breeders in Western Canada.

She has served on the executive of the Manitoba Crop Variety Evaluation Team (MCVET) since 1998. As part of this service, Anita has offered her expertise related to data analysis of multi-environment trials. She completed two studies which led to changes in the way data were analyzed and presented in Seed Manitoba and facilitated the development of Seed Interactive, an online tool for farmers to make head-to-head comparisons among cultivars grown in their region.

Anita recently completed a study for the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association to evaluate seed crop inspection procedures, and has also been involved in variety registration meetings since 1988 and has served on several ad hoc committees involved in the development of regulations around variety registration.