Executive Management and Staff

The Executive Director and CEO is responsible for the overall management of the Institute under the direction of the Board of Directors.

Dr. Maurice Moloney

Prior to joining the Global Institute for Food Security, Dr. Moloney led the work of over 1,100 research and support staff in R&D in Agriculture, Food and Nutrition and Biosecurity at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). Previously, Dr. Moloney was the Director and Chief Executive of the world’s oldest agriculture research centre, Rothamsted Research. The UK-based institute is a world leader in food security, agricultural sustainability and the adaptation of agriculture to the consequences of both climate change and fossil fuel depletion. Founder of SemBioSys Genetics Inc. based in Calgary, Dr. Moloney also served as the company’s president from 1994-1998 and as Chief Scientific Officer from 1998-2010. He held a Dow AgroSciences-Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair in plant biotechnology from 1995 until 2003. Dr. Moloney also spent fifteen years as a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary pursuing research on seed-specific gene expression, herbicide resistance, recombinant protein production and the plant cell cycle. Previously, he was the head of the Cell Biology Group at Calgene Inc., where he developed the first transgenic oilseed plants using Canola as the target. This resulted in a landmark patent in plant biotechnology and eventually became the basis of RoundUp Ready® and Liberty Link® Canola, which now commands more than 90% of the Canola acreage in Canada with a seed market of more than $200 million per year and a product value of >$8 billion annually. Dr. Moloney has published more than 90 original research papers and is an inventor on 43 issued US patents and over 300 patents worldwide. He was Chair and Co-organizer of the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology Congress in Quebec City, June 2000 and continues to serve on the conference’s board. He has served on the advisory board of the National Research Council of Canada’s Plant Biotechnology Institute and on numerous Canadian Federal government committees including NSERC Council (the governing body of NSERC), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and the Networks of Centres of Excellence program. He has consulted for several biotechnology and multinational agribusiness companies. He has also worked extensively with the UK Government and the EU on issues relating to agricultural policy and biotechnology at the ministerial and commissioner levels. He has received a number of prestigious awards, including two Alberta Science and Technology (ASTECH) Awards for leadership in Alberta Technology. Dr. Moloney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Imperial College, London, Associateship of the Royal College of Science, and was awarded his doctorate in plant biochemistry from De Montfort University/Leicester Polytechnic in the United Kingdom. He was honoured by the University of Lethbridge with a D.Sc. honoris causa in 2004 by De Montfort University in 2011 and by Lancaster University, U.K. in 2013.

Dr. Leon Kochian

Dr. Leon Kochian joined the University of Saskatchewan in August 2016 as the Associate Director of the Global Institute for Food Security and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Global Food Security. He also is a Professor in the Departments of Plant Science and Soil Science. Prior to coming to the University of Saskatchewan, he was the Director of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health on the Cornell University campus. In addition, Dr. Kochian was Professor of Plant Biology and also Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University, as well as an Adjunct Scientist at Boyce Thompson Institute. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Botany at the University of California at Berkeley in 1978 and his PhD in Plant Physiology at the University of California at Davis in 1984. In 1985, Dr. Kochian took a position as a Plant Physiologist with USDA-ARS at the US Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, Cornell University. He became Director of the US Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory in 1997 and Director of the newly established USDA-ARS Robert Holley Center on the Cornell campus in 2007. Dr. Kochian’s research deals with the molecular biology, physiology, and genetics of mineral ion transport and root biology processes as they relate to mineral nutrient acquisition, plant response to abiotic environmental stresses, and the role of root architecture in nutrient acquisition efficiency. Dr. Kochian has published 251 papers that have been cited 25,784 times and has an H index of 90. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as an American Society of Plant Biologists Fellow, and is a member of the ARS Hall of Fame. Dr. Kochian was also named to Thomson Reuter’s list of 2015’s “Most Influential Scientific Minds”, a citation analysis identifying the scientists who have made the most significant global impact within their respective field of study over the past 11 years.

Sara Alexander

Sara is a marketing executive with 18 years of global marketing and communications experience. She has a track record of driving growth and change in a range of industries, including food, high technology, ICT, among others in both the Europe and North America. Sara is a seasoned manager of stakeholder relations, public relations, marketing campaigns, and partnership models, with highly developed project management and presentation skills. She is an expert in developing business plan, and leads initiatives to rebrand, re-launch, and obtain financing. Sara holds bachelor's degrees in education and science from Queen's University.

Gwen Miller

Gwen Miller is the Institute’s Director of Finance and Corporate Development. Gwen has extensive experience in industry having worked for large corporations such as General Electric and Delta Hotels as well as small privately owned corporations. She has experience in a variety of industries including software development, real estate development, hospitality and public accounting. Immediately prior to joining GIFS in 2016, Gwen spent five years with the University of Saskatchewan contributing to various enterprise-wide strategic projects. Gwen is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds a BA in psychology as well as a BComm in accounting.

Amber McCuaig

Amber McCuaig is the Institute’s Director of Administration and Executive Assistant. She has been working in administration for more than 20 years and has extensive experience in executive management. Amber joined the Global Institute for Food Security in February 2013, shortly after its creation was announced. Previously, she spent five years as the Manager of the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) campus of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, helping build the school from conception. Her career at the U of S began in 2000, when she joined the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic; she spent the better part of her time in the office as the Executive Assistant to the Provost.

Cynthia Hiebert

Cynthia Hiebert has significant administrative experience in the private and public sectors. She joined the University of Saskatchewan in spring 2014, working first in Advancement and Community Engagement and now at the Global Institute for Food Security.