René Vaillancourt

Project Leader

Program 1: Honey Bee Hive Sites

Professor Vaillancourt is a Professor of Plant Genetics. His specialty is using DNA based tools to better understand plant species. He has worked on hundreds of species, but focuses on the eucalypts, with major contributions towards their conservation, understanding their evolution, mating system, genomic architecture and the genetic control of complex traits that are important to their adaptation and utilisation. He is firmly dedicated to training the next generation of researcher and has graduated 24 students with PhDs, 2 MScs and 37 with Honours so far while at UTAS.

After completing his PhD in lentil genetics, René worked as an extension specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture (Canada) on specialty crop agronomy and did a three year postdoc at Cornell University (USA) completing the first population and phylogenetic studies of cowpeas (Vigna) using DNA tools.  After coming to the University of Tasmania he started teaching genetics, oversaw the establishment of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory in 1995 and contributed significantly to the genomic resources available in eucalypts through DNA marker development and recently genome sequencing projects.

René has a growing interest in genomics, a sub-discipline at the forefront of genetic research.  Utilising genomic tools to better understand eucalypt evolution and the genetic control of complex traits has been a focus of his research recently.  He specializes in the genetics of Eucalyptus globulus, which is Australia’s main plantation eucalypt, also widely planted in temperate parts of the world and is an important native tree of Tasmania and southeastern Australia. The extensive resources and knowledge he has helped develop, provide a unique framework to underpin the future development of this economically and ecologically important species.