The world’s largest poultry genetics company, Cobb, has appointed a new head of biotechnology, Dr Rachel Hawken, formerly of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization(CSIRO).


Dr Hawken was awarded a science degree with honours at LaTrobe University, Victoria, Australia, and then a PhD in veterinary science at The University of Melbourne in 1997.

From there Dr Hawken worked in genomic research across a range of farm animals at the CSIRO including a seven-year project into the genetics of bovine fertility, developing molecular tools for selecting superior breeding stock in beef cattle adapted to the tropical and subtropical environment.

She has also worked at the University of Minnesota mapping genes in pigs to identify those responsible for growth in commercial pig production systems.

“Her vast experiences in state-of-the-art research programmes focused on improving genetic performance in a wide variety of food animal species make her uniquely qualified,” said Dr Mitch Abrahamsen, Cobb vice-president of research and development.

“She will be key in leading our efforts in applying genomic technologies to achieve further advances in our industry-leading poultry breeding programme.”