Rex Bernardo is Professor and Endowed Chair in Corn Breeding and Genetics in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota. He obtained a B.S. degree in agriculture, majoring in plant breeding, at the Visayas State College of Agriculture in the Philippines in 1984. He graduated summa cum laude and worked in a national breeding program for sweet potato. In 1988 he obtained a Ph.D. degree in agronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He specialized in quantitative genetics and plant breeding under the guidance of Dr. John W. Dudley. From 1988 to 1997, Dr. Bernardo was a research scientist at Limagrain Genetics, Champaign, Illinois. From 1997 to 2000, he was on the faculty in the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University. He has been a visiting scientist at different research institutes and universities in France, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands and has served as a consultant for different seed companies.
Dr. Bernardo's research focuses on the use of quantitative genetics theory to improve the efficiency of plant breeding methods, particularly for maize. His work involves a combination of field studies, theoretical and computer simulation research, and molecular marker analysis. He has served as an associate editor and a technical editor of Crop Science and as an editor of Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Dr. Bernardo has received the following awards: Young Crop Scientist Award from the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) in 1999; Fellow of CSSA in 2005; Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy in 2005; Plant Breeding Impact Award from the National Association of Plant Breeders in 2015; and Crop Science Research Award from CSSA in 2019.
Dr. Bernardo teaches a graduate course on the application of quantitative genetics to plant breeding and a graduate course on professional skills for scientists. In his leisure time he enjoys playing the acoustic guitar, taking his wife, Chona, on dates, and hanging out with their six children.