Ross Houston joins Benchmark Genetics

Houston will lead the company’s strategic development of innovation and R&D to support business growth and secure the company’s competitive advantages, among other duties.

Ross Houston joins Benchmark Genetics
Professor Ross Houston to join Benchmark as director of innovation, genetics.
December 10, 2021

Benchmark Genetics appointed Professor Ross Houston as director of innovation, genetics. Houston currently holds a personal chair of Aquaculture Genetics at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, where he leads the aquaculture genetics team. He is also the Roslin Institute’s deputy director for Translation and Commercialization.

Houston is well known in aquaculture genetics and animal breeding communities. He began his career with a PhD in pig genetics at the University of Aberdeen in 2004 before moving into salmon genetics in a postdoctoral position at Roslin. Ever since, he has built an international reputation in the field, including discovering a major QTL associated with resistance to Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis in 2008, which remains an exemplar of using genetics to help control disease and improve health.

Ross leads several high-profile international aquaculture research projects focusing on the application of genomics and genome editing technologies to improve disease resistance. He has authored and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has received several awards for his contributions to the scientific community.

In the role of director of innovation, Houston will lead Benchmark Genetics' strategic development of innovation and R&D to support business growth and secure the company’s competitive advantages. He will also develop and lead collaborative projects both internally and externally, including harnessing synergies on innovation across the field of genetics, health, and nutrition within the Benchmark Group as a member of Benchmark’s cross-divisional Innovation Board.

The new role will also involve product development for the Benchmark Genetics in-house breeding programs in salmon, shrimp and tilapia. Finally, Houston will assist in expanding the portfolio of external clients for the applied genetics consultancy services, of which Benchmark Genetics has been at the forefront for more than three decades.

Morten Rye, director of genetics in Benchmark, said that “getting Ross Houston on board significantly strengthens our genetics R&D capacities and is also a great acknowledgment to the reputation of our organization. Genetics technologies are rapidly advancing, and I am convinced that having Ross lead our strategic development of innovation and R&D will place Benchmark in the forefront of this progress.”

“I have been collaborating with Benchmark scientists for several years, and I am impressed about how the genetics business area has developed during this time. I’m very motivated by translating the latest scientific developments into commercial practice, to benefit the organization as well as enhance the sustainability of the industry,” Houston said.