Fikret Isik


North Carolina State University


Professor and Associate director of Cooperative Tree Improvement Program


Forest Tree Breeding (pine breeding)

How long have you been doing it?

Since 2000​

Why did you choose this career?

It is a very fulfilling job. We do research and it has an impact on the livelihood of millions.

How did you get your start?

I liked genetics and math. Plant breeding uses both disciplines extensively.

What challenges are you working to address through your work?

Not enough time​ to do more. Being university employee requires some other work (teaching, mentoring etc.) besides breeding pine trees.

What plant variety have you developed that you think is the most interesting or important?

We develop superior (disease resistant, fast growing) pine varieties. Seed from these varieties is marketed by our members and planted on millions of acres.

What is the coolest thing about your job?

Having an impact and training future breeders.