Name:

Ted Superak

Company:

HM Clause seeds

Title:

Plant Breeder II

Focus:

Pumpkin (Cucurbitaceae)

Why did you choose this career?

We had a vegetable garden when I was growing up and I always liked that.  I was still interested in agriculture when I was in High School.  So when I went to college at Rutgers I was already interested in plants.  Early in college one of the professors asked me what I wanted to do for a job.  I told him “I want to make plants grow better”.  Oh, he said, “you want to be a plant breeder”.  That always stuck with me.

What challenges are you working to address through your work?

The challenges are good disease resistance in pumpkins.  Also to create something new and novel in pumpkins.  There are lots of different colors, sizes and shapes.  Its like food for your eyes.

What are you most excited about for the future in plant breeding?

DNA marker technology and genomics.  These new tools will accelerate the process of plant breeding, though I don’t use genomics much right now.

I developed the small tiger striped pumpkin, and the carnival winter squash.