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Bioinformatics scientist Dorrie Main to lead WSU Department of Horticulture as interim chair

Main standing outdoors on campus near trees.
Bioinformatics scientist Dorrie Main to lead WSU Department of Horticulture as interim chair

Supporting Washington State University discoveries that improve and protect valuable plants and crops, from apples, grapes, and potatoes to berries and spinach, Professor Dorrie Main will lead the Department of Horticulture for the coming year as interim chair.

A native of the Scottish Highlands, Main has worked at WSU since 2005, and leads WSU research in bioinformatics—the science of analyzing and sharing complex biological data.

Her discoveries draw on genomics, genetics and ‘Big Data’—extremely large data sets analyzed by computers—to develop tools and knowledge affecting hundreds of crops, from forest trees to legumes, cotton and the vast rose family, encompassing apples, almonds, cherries, pears, raspberries and strawberries.

“Dorrie’s research and leadership are helping scientists and growers breed stronger, healthier plants for effective agriculture and a safe, sustainable environment,” said André-Denis Wright, dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “She is ideally placed to support fellow WSU horticulturists in their mission to protect and enhance our farms, orchards, gardens, parks and forests.”

“I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to lead our department’s highly engaged and productive faculty, staff, and students,” Main said. “Together we will make improvements in the coming year to attract a world-class permanent chair for this state-critical and globally impactful department.”

Beginning her term on Sept. 1, 2019, Main succeeds Rich Koenig, who has led the Department of Horticulture as interim chair since Jan. 1, 2017.

“Our college is grateful to Rich for his years of service as interim chair,” Wright said. “Growers, scientists, and partners across Washington have reaped the benefit of his experience as a researcher and leader.”

Main holds a doctorate in bioscience and biotechnology from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, and is former director of bioinformatics at Clemson University Genomics Institute in South Carolina.

Offering undergraduate and advanced degrees, WSU Department of Horticulture is among the top programs in the U.S. driving biological discovery and practical applications that increase specialty crop productivity and sustainability.

Faculty at Pullman, Prosser, Puyallup, Mount Vernon, and Wenatchee offer research, teaching and extension, training the next generation of experts in a wide range of crops that bring more than $4 billion dollars to the Washington economy.

Learn more about the WSU Department of Horticulture here.

Media Contacts

Dorrie Main, Interim Chair, WSU Department of Horticulture, (509) 335-2774