David Francis is a professor of Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS) at The Ohio State University (OSU) based on the Wooster campus. He is originally from Southern California. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Pomona College where an undergraduate research experience in “Food, Land and Power” introduced him to plant breeding. He received his PhD in Genetics from the University of California at Davis where he was supported by a McKnight Foundation fellowship focused on plant-microbe interactions. At OSU his team develops technology and populations to support breeding of processing tomato adapted to humid environments. His team works with wild crop relatives to discover genes for resistance to disease and improve nutritional/health quality of tomato fruit. His group also develops and translates plant genomics resources for population genetics studies, genetic mapping, and selection in breeding populations. He has long been motivated by problems at the interface between applied and basic science and finds satisfaction when his group’s work reaches farmers in the form of new traits and improved varieties. He teaches advanced plant breeding, data analysis, and proposal writing to graduate students. Professionally he has served as the President of the National Association of Plant Breeders and has been recognized by the USDA Secretary's Honor Award for Excellence. In his spare time, he has been known to practice left turns on the track, run trail races, and work as the farm curmudgeon for his wife’s vegetable farm located outside of Wooster, OH.
Group website: https://www.tomatolab.net/