Plant Breeder Dr. Randy A. Hautea Passes Away In The Philippines

(July 20, 2018) - Dr. Randy A. Hautea, the Global Coordinator and Director of the Southeast Asia Center of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a friend and colleague in the biotechnology and plant breeding community passed away on July 19 at 5 in the afternoon at the Los Baños Doctors Hospital and Medical Center, Laguna, Philippines.

We remember him as an amiable and approachable professional who easily becomes your friend. He had the charisma of a fun loving person and was an excellent adviser and mentor.

Randy was a plant breeder by profession, having been trained at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) for his undergraduate and Master’s degrees and did his doctorate at Cornell University. He was a researcher at the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), and affiliate lecturer at UPLB. He became IPB’s sixth Director in 1994. In January 1998, Randy was appointed as Director of the ISAAA SEAsiaCenter, and later on became ISAAA’s first Global Coordinator.

As a plant breeder at IPB, he was noted for his work on the breeding of tropical legumes for adaptation to intensive cropping systems; tolerance/resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and improved seed quality, using conventional and modern tools of biotechnology. Under his leadership, IPB’s plant biotechnology program was established with his full support.

His unwavering devotion to agri-biotechnology transfer and international collaboration—facilitation of agri-biotechnology acquisition and transfer to developing countries in Southeast Asia and East Africa, was shown through his excellent leadership of ISAAA. He led the team in capacity building for national programs in technical and policy areas of plant breeding and biotechnology.

At ISAAA, Randy facilitated the establishment and operations of North-South, South-South, public-private R&D networks as models of innovative partnership for technology transfer and cooperation in modern biotechnology for the benefit of developing countries. Among his achievements are the establishment of the Papaya Biotechnology Network of Southeast Asia, and the Bt eggplant development and commercialization in the Philippines.

He supported and laid the ground for the establishment of the ISAAA Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, currently the most extensive information and knowledge network of its kind globally, which aims to promote and foster broader exchange and sharing of science-based information and experiences on crop biotechnology, especially in and among developing countries.

Most importantly, his monumental 20-year partnership with Dr. Clive James in the publication of the ISAAA Briefs on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops prominently placed ISAAA Briefs as the most authoritative go-to resource in biotech crop area, adoption, and future prospects.

He was recognized for his many accomplishments as a researcher, institute builder and an advocate of biotechnology. Among which were the Ten Outstanding Young Scientist Award given by the National Academy of Science and Technology for his research in the application of molecular biology in legume breeding; the prestigious Honorary Fellow Award by the Crop Science Science Society of the Philippines for his involvement in institution building, research and support to biotechnology globally; and the UP Alumni Association for Outstanding Alumni in the field of research and science advocacy.

Randy will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.