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Dr. Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca Nelson is a Professor in Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science, and is a member of the fields of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe-Biology, Plant Breeding & Genetics and International Agriculture & Rural Development. She serves as Scientific Director for The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP). Rebecca serves as co-chair of the Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations.  She also serves on the SDSN’s Executive Committee. Rebecca teaches an undergraduate course on “Perspectives in International Agriculture and Rural Development” and contributes to other courses in international agriculture and plant pathology. Her research laboratory, based at Cornell University, collaborates with maize geneticists and breeders at Cornell, in Kenya and elsewhere. Ongoing research includes analyzing the genetic architecture of quantitative disease resistance and dissecting quantitative trait loci to identify mechanisms and genes that impair pathogen development, with a particular interest in multiple disease resistance and mycotoxin resistance. Prior to moving to Cornell in 2001, Rebecca worked at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru (1996-2001), and at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines (1988-1996). Rebecca holds a B.A. degree from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. A MacArthur Fellow from 1998 through 2003, she has served on the editorial boards of Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Phytopathology, and the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.­