Guelph Wheat Breeder Helped Make Lives Better


It is with sympathy and sadness that the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College shares the passing of Prof. Alireza (Ali) Navabi on March 10, 2019. Ali was a wheat breeder and professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture. He first joined the department in 2008 as an adjunct professor and since 2014 held the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) Professorship in Wheat Breeding.

Ali led and managed the very successful University of Guelph wheat breeding program, and was well known for his exceptional teaching and thoughtful guidance. He strongly believed in higher education’s ability to make people’s lives better. He taught multiple undergraduate and graduate courses as well as advising 12 graduate students and sat on over 25 graduate advisory committees. He stood out for his strong mentorship of students, which he considered a mutual learning experience that broadened his perspective as much as it did his students’.

He published 65 peer reviewed papers, 30 variety disclosures and gave over 100 conference presentations both nationally and internationally. In 2016 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Agronomy and in 2018 was recognized as a Seed Champion by the Ontario Seed Growers’ Association. Ali was an executive board member for Plant Canada from 2015-2017 and was the President of the Canadian Society of Agronomy from 2016-2017.

A celebration of life will be held March 17. For details visit

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