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SalmoBreed recruits genetics expert as research chief

Former Nofima scientist Hooman Moghadam has joined SalmoBreed in a newly-created research role. Photo: SalmoBreed
Former Nofima scientist Hooman Moghadam has joined SalmoBreed in a newly-created research role. Photo: SalmoBreed

Salmon egg producer SalmoBreed AS has strengthened its genetics department with the employment of Dr Hooman Moghadam in a newly established role of chief scientist for research and innovation.

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"We are very pleased to have Hooman joining our team," says Dr Borghild Hillestad, genetics manager at Bergen-headquartered SalmoBreed, which is owned by UK firm Benchmark Holdings Plc. “He will provide us with increased knowledge and deep experience in molecular genetics and bioinformatics. Both of these areas are very central now, as we increasingly use highly advanced genetic methods and tools in our breeding programme."

Moghadam was awarded his PhD in 2004 from the University of Guelph, Canada, and has a long history of research at, among others, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, Cornell University, Oxford, and the Department of Marine Biology and Genetics in Crete. In recent years, he has been employed as a senior scientist by the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) at Ås.

His research has primarily focused on developing genetics and genomics technologies and the use of bioinformatics to gain insight into the molecular bases of phenotypic variation for complex phenotypes such as growth, reproduction, time of maturation and disease resistance.

At Nofima, he has led a number of prominent R&D projects, among which SalmoBreed has been a partner. He has also been the creator and administrator of the institution's genomics database.

Jorge Piazza will concentrate largely on marketing Benchmark Genetics products in Latin America. Photo: Benchmark
Jorge Piazza will concentrate largely on marketing Benchmark Genetics products in Latin America. Photo: Benchmark

Meanwhile, Benchmark’s genetics division has announced the appointment of Jorge Piazza as marketing manager. Multi-lingual Piazza, who speaks Spanish, English, Norwegian, Portuguese and Italian, will concentrate on Latin America, marketing Benchmark Genetic’s Atlantic salmon, tilapia and shrimp breeding programmes.

Piazza was born and raised in Uruguay, but moved to Spain in 1991, where he built a career in sales and marketing. Since 2011, he has worked in the seafood industry in Norway.

"We are very excited to get Jorge Piazza in our team," said Birgitte Sørheim, marketing director of Benchmark Genetics. “His long experience in marketing and sales, combined with his language skills, will be of great use in the development of our breeding programmes in Latin America.”

Benchmark has a strategy to use the expertise acquired through many years of breeding and genetics on salmon, for the development of tilapia and shrimp breeding. “Marketing is an important part of the effort of sharing knowledge, and developing distribution and sales of breeding material. We think that Jorge will be the right person to help us," said Sørheim.