Shanghai – 30 July 2012 – FuturaGene, a world leader in the enhancement of yield and sustainability of woody crops for plantation forestry, biopower and biofuel markets, announced today that its Head of R&D in China, Prof. David (Xudong) Zhou has been appointed as an Extraordinary Professor at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, South Africa. This appointment further strengthens the relationship between FuturaGene and FABI.
Prof. Dr. David (Xudong) Zhou, who has been Head of R&D at FuturaGene’s China operations since November 2011, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Fungal Diversity and Forest Pathology. In 2007, whilst holding a joint position as Senior Research Fellow at University of Pretoria and Professor at China Eucalypt Research Centre (CERC), he built the foundation for an international research project, the CERC-FABI Eucalypt Protection Programme (CFEPP). This programme serves as a platform to ensure sustainable eucalypt industry development, important to both China and South Africa.
FABI was founded on the recognition that the future of forestry and agriculture in South Africa and other parts of the world will strongly depend on the adoption of new and emerging technologies by these sectors. With a similar commitment, FuturaGene has been developing research activities in China for the past seven years, including conventional poplar selection field trials and genetic improvement of eucalyptus. During this time, the Company has successfully established partnerships with various national research institutes and commercial entities such as the Research Institute of Forestry (RIF) and the Research Institute of Tropical Forestry of the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF); the Guangxi Academy of Sciences (GXAS), the Beijing Forestry University (BFU), as well as BioCentury Transgene (China) Co., Ltd.
Prof. Zhou’s appointment at FABI will continue until 31st December 2014 and will involve co-supervising Ph.D. students who work on plantation health. For this purpose he will travel to South Africa once a year. During his career, he has acted as supervisor and external consultant for various tree health related projects, funded by the Chinese government and the European Union.
Dr. Stanley Hirsch, CEO of FuturaGene, commented on Prof. Zhou’s appointment:
“FuturaGene is committed to research at the forefront of plant genetics and sustainable forestry in order to meet the world’s increasing need for natural commodities in the face of declining land, water and fuel resources. To achieve our mission, our strategy is to employ world leaders and to collaborate with leading institutions including the development of partnerships with universities and research institutes. This appointment provides confirmation of David’s standing in the field and strengthens the developing ties between FuturaGene and an exceptional institute such as FABI in Pretoria.”
Prof. Mike Wingfield, FABI, University of Pretoria, added:
“FABI and the University of Pretoria are delighted to have Prof. Zhou as a member of their research team. We have already enjoyed a long and profitable collaboration leading to the education of numerous young scientists from China and elsewhere. This has enhanced global capacity to deal with growing numbers of insect pests and diseases that are reducing the productivity of plantation forestry. Together with FABI, Prof. Zhou has played a leading role in establishing capacity to deal with disease and pest problems on eucalyptus, especially in China. In his position with FuturaGene, he will continue to build on this foundation, and his appointment in FABI will strongly promote both innovative research in forest biotechnology as well as the education of young scientists from Asia, Africa and elsewhere in the world”.
About FuturaGene - www.futuragene.com
FuturaGene, with facilities in Brazil, China and Israel is a leader in plant genetic research and development for the global forestry, biopower and biofuel markets. FuturaGene develops sustainable, ecologically sound technology to meet the ever increasing demands for fiber, fuel and energy crops in the face of declining land and water resources.
FuturaGene’s crop development is focused through two main technology platforms: yield and processability enhancement - driving gains in yield during crop growth and greater processability of crop, post-harvest; and yield protection to protect strategic crops from emerging threats caused by changing climate and diminishing resources and to enable marginal land usage.
FuturaGene’s key crops are eucalyptus and poplar and its most advanced technologies are for yield improvement in sustainable industrial forestry. FuturaGene has fully integrated capabilities from gene sourcing and discovery, through development and in-house regulatory capability, large scale field trial capacity to market channels and captive off-take. It is uniquely positioned as one of the few biotech companies, outside of the “majors”, which has taken a new trait from the lab to late stage regulatory development.
Since July 2010, FuturaGene has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Suzano Pulp and Paper, a leading integrated forestry, pulp, paper and renewable energy company in Brazil. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Suzano, FuturaGene continues its worldwide biotech activities with enhanced resources driving its mission to be a world leader in sustainable plant genetic research and development.
About Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)
www.fabinet.up.ac.za / www.fabinet.up.ac.za/hosted/cfepp
FABI, the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, at the University of Pretoria, is a post-graduate research institute that was established in 1997, based on a recognition that the future of forestry and agriculture in South Africa, and other parts of the world, will strongly depend on the incorporation of new and emerging technologies into these industries. Being the world largest research center concerned with plantation diseases, FABI holds world-class equipment and facilities for tree health research and education in this field. The research team has some 30 years of experience in working with the forestry industries and members of the group have received many awards for research excellence and education. In addition to greatly contributing to the tree health and sustainable management of forestry, FABI researchers have published more than 600 scientific papers in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals.
Issued for and on behalf of FuturaGene.
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