Sylvie Rioux – 2015 Honorary Life Award Recipient

SRioux_photo de famille-2014Sylvie was born on a dairy farm in Tingwick, Quebec, a small town between Victoriaville and Asbestos. After completing her college studies in Victoriaville (1979), she enrolled in the bio-agronomy program at Laval University in Quebec City. Four years later, an agronomy graduate, she decided to do her Masters in plant biology specializing in phytogenetics at the same university. She then followed with a doctorate in phytogenetics-phytopathology. She graduated with her doctor’s degree in 1992. She held various research positions, among them phytopathological research on cereals for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Center in Quebec City (Sainte-Foy) and research associate at Laval University before being hired by the Centre de recherche sur les grains (CÉROM) in July 1998 as researcher in grain pathology. This newly formed organization had a mandate to carry out research of public interest in the grain growing sector. Even if CÉROM is located in Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil in the Montérégie region, its phytopathology laboratory is located in the Scientific Centre within the Quebec Metro High Tech Park.

Sylvie et Emilie Lennox 1991Ever since her arrival at CÉROM, Sylvie has been responsible for the “fusarium” nursery where she assessed, under artificial inoculation, lineages/cultivars of cereals in order to determine their sensitivity level to this disease that represents a constant problem in cereal production. Her work supported the efforts of researchers from Quebec and Canada, from the public and private sectors, to develop and offer grain growers more fusarium tolerant cultivars. Information regarding the sensitivity level of the cultivars is also available to growers via the Guide Réseau grandes cultures du Québec (RGCQ). She also developed an artificial inoculation method to assess the sensitivity level of the soya lineage/cultivars to sclerotinia stem rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum). That method has become the benchmark and is still used by the RGCQ to generate data that allow the assignment of a sensitivity level to soya and canola cultivars to this important disease.

Other research projects Sylvie is working or has worked on include the impact of farming practices (rotation, tilling, relay cropping, herbicide and fungicide application, seed treatments) on the occurrence of diseases in field crops (cereals, oleaginous plants, corn). She also participated in the assessment and validation of predictive models and the development of fusarium head blight in wheat and barley. Every summer for the last 20 years she visited the cereal tests of the RGCQ to record foliar disease. She loves this work since it helps her better understand the different regions of Quebec and meet the people who work there and who have become friends over the years.

Wife and mother of three children, Sylvie loves spending time with her family and friends around a good meal. She enjoys traveling, music shows, hiking, gardening, and reading.