Susan McCouch

Susan McCouch is the Barbara McClintock Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. She also serves as Director of the Cornell Initiative for Digital Agriculture. She received her PhD from Cornell in 1990 and spent 5 years with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines before joining the Cornell faculty in 1995. She is known for developing the first molecular genetic map of rice and for her key and sustained role in turning rice into a model for genetics and breeding research. Her work provides a critical foundation for rapid trait identification and cultivar development, and her contribution to the development of databases and software tools has facilitated the sharing of data and accelerated rice breeding worldwide. In collaboration with USDA colleagues, her group released the first red-pericarp rice variety in the US in 2018. She currently serves as founding member and Chair of the Board of Directors for the DivSeek International Network, a not-for-profit member-driven organization dedicated to the characterization and use of genetic variation in crop improvement.  She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Presidential Award from the Crop Science Society of America (2016), an Honorary Ph.D. from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India (2015), the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2012), the Golden Sickle Award for the advancement of international rice research (2007), and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell (2006), and has contributed extensively to educational initiatives and international outreach. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recently elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.