Matthew Clark grew up in a farming community in northern Iowa where he always had an interest in plants. He completed a B.A. in Psychology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. After working for several years in non-profit social services he chose to switch careers and study horticulture. Clark completed an M.S. and Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics at the U of M under Professor Jim Luby. He has studied native grass species for use as low input turf, apple fruit quality traits, apple scab resistance and grape diseases.
“Minnesota has been home to me for many years. I look forward to continuing my career here while working alongside a growing and motivated industry, and continued collaborations with grape and wine experts from around the globe,” said Clark. In his new position he will be involved with research, teaching and Extension education for grape breeding and enology. He is interested in breeding plants that are tolerant to abiotic stresses, diseases and insects.
In anticipation of his new role at the University and his plans for the future, Clark continued, “I am really interested in working with the grape growers and wine producers in Minnesota. We share a common mission of developing the best wines for our region. This starts with having improved cultivars that make quality wines, but also an understanding of what processes are required to turn our unique hybrid grapes into the best products. Our breeding program will focus on wine grapes, but the breeding lines developed here also set the stage for locally produced table grapes.”