Climate change impacts every aspect of society, including agriculture. As the effects of climate change escalate, farmers, researchers and innovators need to find new ways to deal with changing trends and an increased frequency of extreme weather events, like droughts and floods. Professor Tuinstra’s research in plant breeding and genetics seeks to mitigate the impact these events and trends could have on crops. Tuinstra and colleagues are developing climate-resilient crops, which will be better able to withstand extreme temperatures and weather. He does this by identifying genes and other genetic resources that allow crops to perform better in stressful environments. The research has dramatic applications for agriculture across the globe. Tuinstra’s work frequently takes him to Africa, where he collaborates with local laboratories and breeding programs to expand genomic databases and enable more rapid sorghum breeding.
Tuinstra also serves as the scientific director of the Institute for Plant Sciences. The Institute brings together multidisciplinary research and education to move discoveries from the bench to application and commercialization. These efforts are delivering innovation, technology, and the human capacity necessary to help farming operations of all sizes produce food, fuel, and fiber more efficiently. A forward-thinking view of how agriculture will change in the next 50 years makes Tuinstra a resource on the intersection of climate change, agriculture and plant genetics and a leading drought-resistant crop expert.