Dr Usha Zehr
Director and Chief Technology Officer
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Private Limited (Mahyco)
Dr Usha Barwale Zehr is Director and Chief Technology Officer at Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Private Limited (MAHYCO) in India. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
For the past 19 years, she has been utilising new technologies and tools including biotechnology for improving the quality and productivity of seeds and agriculture. In addition, Dr Zehr serves as Director of the Barwale Foundation, a non-profit research foundation. She also serves on the Board of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa.
Dr Zehr chairs the Breeder’s Committee of the International Seed Federation.
Mahyco focuses on research and development, production, processing, and marketing of seeds for Indian farmers.
Founded in 1964, Mahyco is the pioneer of high-quality hybrid and open pollinated seeds, through the use of cutting-edge technology and intensive research activities.
Dr Zehr served as a geneticist at Purdue University, studying sorghum and millet and focusing on the application of plant biotechnology for improving agricultural production. During her graduate and post-graduate studies, she worked in the area of tissue culture and transformation. Her group at the University of Illinois was the first to develop a system for soybean regeneration. As a result of her work at Purdue University, the first transgenic sorghum plant was produced. Her work in plant biotechnology is aimed toward implementing emerging technologies in the developing world.