Dr. Todd C. Wehner
Todd Wehner was born in Oakland, California, and grew up in San Carlos, San Francisco and Berkeley California. He enjoyed backpacking and cross-country skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains, bicycle racing and touring along the Pacific coast, and playing bassoon in a symphony orchestra, woodwind quintet, and concert band.
He worked his way through 4 years at the University of California-Berkeley as a bicycle mechanic, receiving his A.B. in botany (research on redwood forest ecology) in 1975. After a 3-week tour of the four main Hawaiian Islands by bicycle, Todd went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a M.S. in Agronomy (research on snap peas) and a Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant genetics (research on leafless peas) in 1979.
Dr. Wehner took over the cucumber breeding and genetics project at North Carolina State University-Raleigh in 1979, and worked his way from Assistant to Associate to Full Professor by 1989. In 1993, he took on the additional responsibility for breeding and genetics research on watermelon. In 2006, he added responsibilities for assistant department head, and instructor for the Plant Breeding Academy at UC Davis. He also does research on cantaloupe, specialty melon, and luffa sponge gourd. His research has emphasized improved selection methods; recurrent selection for fruit yield, earliness and quality; resistance to chilling, nematodes, anthracnose, belly rot, gummy stem blight, powdery mildew, downy mildew and potyviruses; and germplasm evaluation to provide industry with new traits for the development of improved cultivars. Most recently, Dr. Wehner began working as an instructor for DELTA (HS 541 Plant Breeding Methods in 2010, and HS 521 Plant Breeding Overview in 2011).
Dr. Wehner has released 49 cultivars and breeding lines, and published 164 journal articles and book chapters, with a total of 645 articles and reports. He has trained 33 graduate students, and teaches plant breeding methods and seminar production courses for graduate students. He has been involved in efforts to collect and preserve cucumber, watermelon, muskmelon, and luffa germplasm, including gene mutants, from around the world. He was an advisor for production of pickling cucumber in Sri Lanka in 1993, watermelon in China in 1999 and 2008, and Poland and the Czech Republic in 2004. He participated in expeditions to collect germplasm from China in 1994, the Republic of South Africa in 1996, and Turkmenistan in 2008.
Dr. Wehner lives in Raleigh with his children Christopher and Kathryn. He enjoys bicycle touring, rock climbing, playing bass, landscaping his yard, hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, and visiting Atlantic Ocean beaches.