Sarah Hearne focuses on identifying and “upcycling” breeder-relevant native genetic variation for broader crop improvement applications. Working with multidisciplinary teams she explores, harnesses, re-combines and co-develops applications and approaches in the areas of genomics, informatics, biometrics and breeding methodology, driving data synergies towards more efficient and effective upstream discovery and breeding.
She currently leads projects on Mining Useful Alleles for Climate Change Adaptation from CGIAR Gene Banks, the Seeds of Discovery initiative and the Trait Discovery and Deployment and Toolbox areas of the Excellence in Breeding Platform. These activities focus on the large-scale genotypic and targeted phenotypic characterization of germplasm bank collections resulting in the identification of accessions and genomic regions of value, and translation of this knowledge into new breeder demanded donor germplasm.
This data-driven science is complemented by emphasis on outcome-oriented project and people management, data management and equitable, IP-sensitive knowledge sharing. Hearne is responsible for online resources that facilitate access to data, tools, services, germplasm, advice and training for other researchers and breeders.