CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist, University of Califonia, Riverside
Alan McHughen, PhD is a public sector educator, scientist and consumer advocate. After earning his doctorate at Oxford University, Dr. McHughen worked at Yale University and the University of Saskatchewan before joining the University of California, Riverside. A molecular geneticist with an interest in crop improvement and environmental sustainability, he helped develop US and Canadian regulations governing the safety of genetically engineered crops and foods. He served on US National Academy of Sciences panels investigating the environmental effects of transgenic plants and the safety of genetically engineered foods and helped review a panel examining sustainability and economic impacts of biotechnology on US agriculture.
Having developed internationally approved commercial crop varieties using both conventional breeding and genetic engineering techniques, McHughen has firsthand experience with the relevant technical, biosafety and policy issues from both sides of the regulatory process. As an educator and consumer advocate, he helps non-scientists understand the environmental and health impacts of both modern and traditional methods of food production. His award-winning book, Pandora’s Picnic Basket; The Potential and Hazards of Genetically Modified Foods uses understandable, consumer-friendly language to explore the myths and genuine risks of genetic modification technology. More recently, McHughen served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the US Department of State and as a Senior Policy Analyst at the White House, serving under the Obama administration.