Gizaw Wolde


Postdoctoral Researcher


  1. Ph.D. in Biology, Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany                          
  2. Diploma in computer sciences, HILCOe College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  3. MSc in Plant biotechnology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  4. BSC in plants sciences, Alemaya University, Ethiopia


I was born and raised in Ethiopia from a farming family. Although they are not educated, my family strongly believes in the value of education and thus, they helped me pursue a successful scientific career. Coming from a country that depends on agriculture, I have always been very enthusiastic about the potential of new genetic techniques to improve crops yield and quality. After completing my undergraduate university training, I joined The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research as a junior tef breeder. I studied my postgraduate program in plant Biotechnology at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands. There I attended several theoretical and practical courses on molecular plant biotechnology.

Later I became interested in plant development and architecture. To pursue my interest, I went to Germany for a PhD at the research group led by Professor Thorsten Schnurbusch at Martin Luther University in Halle. His research group at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), integrates genetics and genomics approaches. My doctoral research project focused on the genetics of ‘Miracle Wheat’ a tetraploid natural mutant that has branched spikes and increased number of spikelets. I have co-authored the study that identified the first gene contributing to this unusual spike phenotype in wheat (Poursarebani et al. 2015).

To further pursue my career, I joined the laboratory of Prof. Jorge Dubcovsky at the University of California, Davis for my postdoctoral research in wheat spike development, architecture, and yield.



  1. Wolde, G.M., M. SCHREIBER, C. TRAUTEWIG, A. HIMMELBACH, S. SAKUMA, M. MASCHER and T. SCHNURBUSCH (2021) Genome-wide identification of loci modifying spike-branching in tetraploid wheat.Theor Appl Genet (2021).  DOI: 
  2. Wolde, G.M. and Schnurbusch, T. (2019). Inferring vascular architecture of the wheat spikelet based on resource allocation in the branched headt (bht-A1) near-isogenic lines. Functional Plant Biology. Functional Plant Biology 46, 1023–1035. DOI:
  3. Wolde, G.M., Trautewig C., Mascher, M., Schnurbusch, T. (2019). Genetic insights into morphometric inflorescence traits of wheat. Theor. Appl. Genet 132(6): 1661-1676. DOI:
  4. Wolde, G.M., Mascher, M., and Schnurbusch, T. (2019). Genetic modification of spikelet arrangement in wheat increases grain number without significantly affecting grain weight. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 294, 457-468. DOI:
  5.  Alqudah AM, Koppolu R, Wolde G.M, Graner A, Schnurbusch T. (2016). The Genetic Architecture of Barley Plant Stature. Front. Genet 7(117): 117. DOI:
  6. Poursarebani, N., T. Seidensticker, R. Koppolu, C. Trautewig, P. Gawroński, F. Bini, G. Govind, T. Rutten, S. Sakuma, A. Tagiri, Wolde G.M, H.M. Youssef, A. Battal, S. Ciannamea, T. Fusca, T. Nussbaumer, C. Pozzi, A. Börner, U. Lundqvist, T. Komatsuda, S. Salvi, R. Tuberosa, C. Uauy, N. Sreenivasulu, L. Rossini and T. Schnurbusch (2015). The genetic basis of composite spike form in barley and ‘Miracle-Wheat’. Genetics 201: 155-165. DOI:
  7. Assefa, K., Aliye, S., Belay, Gizaw M Wolde, G., Tefera, H., and Sorrells, M.E. (2011). Quncho: the first popular tef variety in Ethiopia. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9, 25-34. DOI:
  8. Belay, G., A. Zemede, K.Assefa, Gizaw M. Wolde and H.Tefera. (2009) Seed size effect on grain weight and agronomic performance of tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. African J. of Agricultural Research
  9. Belay, G., H. Tefera, A. Getachew, K. Assefa & Gizaw M. Wolde (2007). Highly client-oriented breeding in Ethiopian tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter].  African J. of Agricultural Research.
  10. Belay, G., H. Tefera, B. Tadesse, Gizaw M. Wolde, D. Jarra and T. Tadesse. (2006) Participatory variety selection in the Ethiopian cereal tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. Experimental Agriculture 42:91-101. DOI: