Jeffrey Ehlers Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA
Dr. Jeffrey Ehlers obtained his PhD from UC Davis in Genetics and Plant Breeding (1984). Took a position with IITA as a cowpea breeder based in Kenya 1985-1988. He joined small private company in partnership with his major professor back in California to work on developing wild rice (Zizania aquatica) cultivars.1989-1991. Joined University of California, Riverside as a legume breeder 1992-2012. While their, he authored or co-authored more than 65 peer-reviewed publications, helped mentor young African breeders in their release of more than 20 improved cultivars. He also holds several plant patents and has release several varieties for California.
His team at UC Riverside helped bring the orphan crop cowpea into the modern genomics breeding world with the establishment of high density genetic maps, genotyping platforms and whole genome sequence, in addition to cultivar developing and mentoring and guiding African legume breeding programs.
Retired in 2012 to join the Gates Foundation where he makes and manages grants, mostly in crop Improvement of Legumes, sorghum and millets.