After an outstanding career of 40 years in agricultural research, former CIMMYT wheat researcher, Wheat Program Director, and Distinguished Scientist, Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram—known affectionately at CIMMYT simply as “Raj”—formally retired on 10 February 2008 from his positions as Director of Integrated Gene Management at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and Director of the ICARDA/CIMMYT Wheat Improvement Program (ICWIP) in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region.
Rajaram led bread wheat breeding research at CIMMYT for more than three decades. His leadership and commitment to wheat improvement resulted in the release of more than 450 cultivars with increased yield potential, wide adaptation, and resistance to important diseases and stresses. These are grown on some 58 million hectares worldwide and approximately 8 million hectares in India, and include India’s most popular wheat variety, PBW 343. He also led efforts at CIMMYT to apply the concept of durable resistance to rust—the most damaging disease of wheat worldwide—through use of multiple genes with minor effects that slow disease development, thereby minimizing effects on yield without challenging the pathogen to mutate and overcome resistance. His accomplishments include training or mentoring more than 700 scientists from dozens of developing countries, including many from India.
Rajaram will live in Mexico and plans to continue his breeding association with Resource Seed Inc., a Wheat/TCL Breeding Company based in California. Congratulations, and best of luck in the future, Raj!