Professor John MacKay appointed as Chairman for the Conifer Breeding Co-operative.

The Conifer Breeding Co-operative is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor John MacKay as their new Chairman.

John secured the position following the retirement of Dr Steve Lee both from his role with the Co-operative and from his job as Head of Tree Breeding at Forest Research.

The Conifer Breeding Co-operative is dedicated to ensuring the production of selected and improved vegetatively propagated and seed orchard conifer planting stock and developing breeding programmes for enhanced timber production. Its remit also includes taking forward the tree breeding programmes in a manner consistent with the ethos and principles of the co-operative business model. Steve made significant contributions to this aim during his time as Chairman.

On his new appointment John said:

“I am honoured to have been appointed Chairman of the Conifer Breeding Co-operative and look forward to not only consolidating the good work that the Group has achieved so far but also to overseeing what I hope will be significant progression in our work to improve the quality of our conifer crops.”

Professor John MacKay is ideally suited to his new role having 30 years’ experience in forest genetics in diverse areas of tree improvement, genomics and biotechnology. His background includes several years in academic and industrial research. John also plays a significant role in ‘Sitka Spruced’ a collaboration of the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh (Roslin Institute) and Forest Research (an Agency of the Forestry Commission). The project is funded by BBSRC and a group of forest and wood processing industries and is dedicated to developing Genomic Selection methods aimed at shortening the breeding process and therefore increasing the rate of yield gains more than two-fold. A perfect partner to the Conifer Co-operative.

The Co-operative also welcomes Gustavo Lopez PhD as the new representative from Forest Research. Gustavo is the new head of tree breeding and science group leader in the Forest Research of Great Britain and has taken on the commitment of representing the organisation at the Co-operative. He has a long career in quantitative genetics and tree breeding with broad international experience in different environments and tree species both within private companies and public research organisations.

The Conifer Breeding Co-operative Board wish to take this opportunity to welcome both John to his new role as Chairman and Gustavo to the team and to wish Steve all the very best for the future and thank him for his contribution to the group.