The University of Cambridge has granted outgoing NIAB CEO Dr Tina Barsby the title of Honorary Professor in Agricultural Botany.
Honorary Professorships are one of the most prestigious honours in the gift of the University and mark academic contribution and rare distinction. Professor Alison Smith, Head of the University’s Department of Plant Sciences, explains that Tina’s contribution to agricultural innovation and to plant science means that she has the significant national and international recognition befitting a Professor at the University of Cambridge.
“Throughout her career, Tina has led and managed multifaceted, product driven, research and development programmes that have had significant impact in real-world agriculture in Europe and the developing world, particularly in the area of wheat genetics and breeding,” says Professor Smith.
“I am deeply grateful to be recognised in this way by the University as I move on from NIAB. NIAB’s links with the University reach back to when NIAB was established over 100 years ago and, on taking over as CEO in 2008, I have sought to revive these ties with colleagues in the University to leverage our complementary expertises in fundamental and translational plant science. This includes the establishment of the Crop Science Centre, an alliance between the University and NIAB," says the new Professor Barsby.
On joining NIAB in 2006, Tina brought a range of technology from her previous scientific career and oversaw its development to play a key role in providing genetically-modified and gene-edited plants for the study of gene functions, enabling precise trait-directed breeding. She was instrumental in the initiation and implementation of innovative approaches in plant breeding including the first public-good programme for wheat breeding in the UK since the closure of the Plant Breeding Institute in 1987.
Professor Barsby is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society and was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology.