Herman van Eck is associate professor Plant Breeding at Wageningen University & Research. He graduated in 1988 as Agricultural Engineer (Ir.) in Plant Breeding on thesis research with Prof. J.G.Th. Hermsen and Bert Uijtewaal on somatic cell fusions, and Early Noduline gene expression with Prof. Ab van Kammen and Ben Scheres.
From 1989-1993 he was a Ph.D. student with Prof. Evert Jacobsen on the construction of a Genetic map of Potato. After his graduation in 1995 in he started as associate researcher at Plant Breeding.
In 1998 he was visiting scientist at the Institute of Evolution, Haifa University on a BARD project of Dr. R.W. Michelmore and E. Nevo, studying "Genetic diversity at resistance gene clusters in wild populations of Lactuca serriola".
From 1999 onwards he did molecular genetic research on Oaks (Quercus robur), Flax (Linum ussitatissimum), Taro (Collocasia esculenta), but predominantly on Potato (Solanum tuberosum).
Genetics and linkage mapping has been a central theme in his research, which resulted in new mapping software: RECORD with Prof. Piet Stam and SMOOTH with Hans van Os.
In 2006 a collaboration started with DeRuiterSeeds on the conversion of potato from a tetraploid outbreeder into a diploid F1 hybrid. In 2009 a patent was filed on Hybrid Seed Potato Breeding. The collaboration ended when Solynta was established as independent start-up.
Since the release of the Potato Reference Genome (PGSC, 2011), research interests shifted to potato genomics and re-sequencing to study molecular variation (Uitdewilligen et al, 2013) with the aim to explain phenotypic variation. This enabled GWAS studies and the release of a SNP array (Vos et al., 2015)
Current projects are the development of Fixation-Restitution Breeding as a third potato breeding strategy in between conventional and F1 hybrid breeding. This research is financed by TKI and in DIFFUGAT project.
Member on the Editorial Board of Theoretical and Applied Genetics and Potato Research
Member of the European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) where he served as chairman (2002-2012) of the section "Breeding and Varietal Assessment"