Robert Alexander McIntosh
Robert Alexander McIntosh was born in Gloucester, New South Wales, Australia, and grew up on a dairy farm. He was educated at the University of Sydney, where he received his B.S. Agr. (1960), M.S. Agr. (1963), and Ph.D. (1969). His Ph.D. focused on the genetics and cytogenetics of flag smut resistance in wheat. He has spent his entire professional career at the University of Sydney, as a professional officer from 1960 to 1963, research fellow from 1963 to 1973, and senior research fellow from 1973 to 1980. He was appointed director of rust research (level of associate professor) in 1980, and in 1993 he was promoted to a personal professorship of cereal genetics and cytogenetics.
Dr. McIntosh has a very distinguished career and is recognized for his international reputation in research on rust diseases of cereals. Some of his major achievements include contributions to the collection of aneuploid stocks of Chinese Spring wheat, chromosome location and genetic linkage studies in wheat, the naming of seven genes for resistance to leaf rust, 14 genes for resistance to stem rust, and three genes for resistance to stripe rust. Since 1968, he has coordinated and published the internationally accepted catalogue of genetic nomenclature of wheat. He introduced the method of using monotelodisomic heterozygotes as female or selfed parents for telocentric mapping. He also designed and conducted appropriate mutational analyses that demonstrated that one gene conferred resistance to pathogens that incited two different diseases. From his genetic studies, he developed white-seeded derivatives from red-seeded alien translocation stocks enabling the commercial exploitation of the Lr24 and Sr24 resistance alleles in Australian white-seeded wheat cultivars. Earlier derivatives carried a gene for red seededness in the alien chromosome segment. His research also led to the identification of the initial pathotype of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici following its introduction into Australia in 1979, and the identification of the pathotypes of P. graminis f. sp. tritici that attack triticale in Australia. He showed that the latter pathotypes were of no immediate threat to wheat cultivars. His studies have produced approximately 130 publications.
Research undertaken and supervised by Dr. McIntosh has had continuous support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia. In addition to the studies of genetics and cytogenetics of rust resistance, projects under his direction or involvement have included cereal rust pathogenicity surveys conducted as part of Australian National Cereal Rust Control Program, international collaborative wheat rust projects with India and Pakistan, a global surveillance of the wheat stripe rust pathogen in collaboration with CIMMYT and ICARDA, and recently, development of a component of an Australian collaborative project on wheat breeding in Sichuan, China.
Dr. McIntosh has presented invited papers and delivered keynote addresses at approximately 25 international congresses and meetings in numerous countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia. He has served as advisor and consultant for research programs at institutions in the United States and South Africa, and he has been invited as a guest lecturer at universities and research institutes in the United States, China, and Mexico. He currently serves on the editorial panels of Plant Breeding (Germany), Euphytica (the Netherlands), Cereal Research Communications (Hungary), and Wheat Information Service (Japan). A long-standing member of APS, he organized and chaired a symposium on the genetic control of disease resistance at the Sixth International Congress of Plant Pathology, Kyoto, Japan.
Dr. McIntosh has supervised six graduate students and is currently an advisor of five students. He has occasionally lectured to students in agronomy, plant breeding, and plant pathology. He has received several awards for his contributions to agricultural science including the Farrer Memorial Medal, which commemorates the work of pioneer wheat breeder William Farrer, in 1976, the Medal of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science in 1987, and was elected a fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Sciences in 1988 and fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1993.