CHRISTOPHER W. DEREN, professor and rice breeder from the University of Florida, has been appointed director of the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center near Stuttgart, Ark.

UA Division of Agriculture scientists at the Rice Research and Extension Center conduct research primarily on rice and soybeans and is the home of the university's rice breeding program.

“Dr. Deren brings an impressive background of research and experience to the director's post at Stuttgart,” said Greg Weidemann, UA associate vice president for agriculture-research. “I'm confident he can provide the leadership and support to build upon the center's reputation as one of the premiere agricultural research stations in the nation.”

“One of the most attractive things about coming to Arkansas is that the state is the most important rice-producing area in the United States,” Deren said. “The Rice Research and Extension Center is in the heart of Arkansas' rice country, making it the ideal location for breeding and other research. The proximity of the USDA's Dale Bumpers Rice Research Center, located on the RREC campus, is also a very desirable asset for rice breeders.”

Deren earned his bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1980 and master's degree in plant breeding in 1983, both at the University of Arkansas. He earned his Ph.D. in plant breeding from the University of Florida in 1986. He joined the research faculty at Florida in 1987, where his early work was in breeding sugarcane.