Highlander Lab

Jon Bančič

TRAIN@Ed Fellow

Research at the Highlander Lab

Highlander Jon

I am a TRAIN@Ed Research Fellow in plant breeding and statistical genetics in the HighlanderLab. My main project is in collaboration with an industrial partner, where we are developing a strategy for transitioning to genomic selection for their hybrid oilseed rape breeding program. Briefly, the work involves:


  • simulation of an actual oilseed rape breeding program with extension to genomic selection;
  • development of the appropriate simulation of genotype by environment interactions;
  • development of different strategies for an efficient transition to genomic selection;
  • simulation and selection based on multiple important economic traits;
  • optimization of cross selection strategies within each breeding stage.

I am also involved in other projects that deal with dominance simulation, simulation of plant breeding programs in AlphaSimR, and genetic analysis of finger millet.


I have a BSc in Biology (University of Ljubljana), an MSc in Plant Biology (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), and a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics (University of Edinburgh). During my PhD, I also took 60 cts of courses from an MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis (University of Edinburgh). In addition, I have experience working in the wet lab (DNA extractions, tissue cultures, qt-PCR, microscopy) and in the field/greenhouse/growth chambers (phenotyping, infection assays).

I am specifically interested in:

  • Genomics Plant Breeding
  • Sustainable Agriculture                                         
  • Quantitative Genetics
  • Statistical analysis of plant breeding data
  • Breeding Program Optimization

Programming language and software:

  • R & RStudio
  • MS Office
  • Linux Compute Cluster                                          
  • Markdown
  • Latex

Hobbies and personal interests

  • Sports
  • Hiking
  • Dancing salsa
  • Learning languages (Spanish, French)           
  • Fixing random objects
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Guitar (new)