Syngenta Scientist Recognized |Syngenta US

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Syngenta scientist named Seed World’s 2018 Future Giant of the Seed Industry

  • Award recognizes early-career individuals who show potential in seed industry
  • Winner Qingli Liu has helped bring Asian Soybean Rust resistant seeds to market
  • Liu acknowledged for strong leadership skills and resourcefulness

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Sept. 26, 2018 – Qingli Liu, Ph.D., principal scientist, Syngenta, has been recognized as the 2018 Future Giant of the Seed Industry. The esteemed award was presented by Seed World in partnership with the Future Seed Executives of the American Seed Trade Association to those who demonstrate potential to help shape the industry’s future.​​​​​​​

As project lead for soybean and sunflower disease control at the Syngenta Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park, Liu spent the last five years developing broad resistance strategies that could provide new options to control disease, beyond fungicides.

​​​​​​​Liu’s most significant achievement to date was discovering a method that allowed Syngenta to produce soybeans with tolerance to Asian Soybean Rust, a disease that costs farmers over $2 billion annually. The disease can cause up to 80 percent yield loss in Latin American fields, with potential for complete defoliation if left untreated. He is currently working to apply his methodology to other crops affected by major diseases.

“Qingli is an exemplary role model for his colleagues and peers – both at Syngenta and within the seed industry,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne Ph.D., head of global seeds research, Syngenta. “He is much more than a scientist; he is a connector and influencer who brings motivation to teams to go beyond what is expected – a true leader who can navigate the challenges inherent in seeds research and development.”

By building teams across disciplines within Syngenta, Liu has been able to implement new strategies faster and stay ahead of competitors. He has formed partnerships with university academic labs and private companies in order to expand his resources.

Liu was nominated for the honor by his supervisor, Joseph Watts, Ph.D., a Syngenta research scientist and senior team leader, for Liu’s ability to advance the trait discovery and development process so that the technology can be delivered into the market faster.

“It is rare to make a major scientific discovery, but it is even rarer to drive that discovery forward into a viable product to solve an unmet need in the world,” said Watts. “Qingli’s ability to bring technology from the lab into the field to conquer one of the world’s most intractable plant diseases in less than five years is evidence that he will be a Future Giant of the Seed Industry.”

Liu is featured in the Sept. issue of Seed World, available in print and online at
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