Jessica Rutkoski2023-12-21T11:08:11-06:00


Dr. Jessica Rutkoski

Areas of Expertise:

  • Plant Breeding

Assistant Professor
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Dr. Rutkoski earned her bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her doctorate in plant breeding and genetics from Cornell University. She’s spent time as an assistant professor at Cornell University; adjunct associate scientist for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), working in the breeding program founded by Dr. Norman Borlaug; and a scientist with the International Rice Research Institute.

Back in the Midwest, Dr. Rutkoski now focuses on developing winter wheat varieties with characteristics important for enhancing the profitability of double-cropping in Illinois and surrounding states, identifying plant breeding and phenotyping methods to accelerate gain in crop yield, and training the next generation of plant breeders and crop scientists.

Fun Facts!
While at Cornell University, Dr. Rutkoski met Bill Gates and taught him how to cross-pollinate wheat. Her theme song is “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, a message that proved helpful after applying for her first job as a pumpkin picker and being rejected! She’s found her true calling as a plant breeder. Not only does she find joy in her work, but she also relishes going for walks with her husband and their young daughter.

Research Projects

Enhancing the Profitability of Wheat-Soybean Double Cropping2023-12-20T16:22:58-06:00

Double cropping soybeans after winter wheat is an attractive approach to enhancing profitability in Midwest crop rotations and improving soil health. To capitalize on this cropping system, this project will identify high-yielding winter wheat varieties that can be harvested earlier and enable earlier planting of double-crop soybeans to maximize soybean yield potential.

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