Venu joined IRRI in 2018. He currently leads the Fit-for-Future Genetic Resources cluster which aims to create and deliver the knowledge, material, and tools required to enable users of genetic resources to take full advantage of the naturally-occurring diversity of cultivated rice and its wild relatives. This will help create new and improved varieties that will address the dynamic needs of rice producers and consumers.
He also oversees the operation of the International Rice Genebank - the world’s largest collection of rice genetic diversity which holds more than 132,000 available accessions. This includes cultivated species of rice, wild relatives and species from related genera.
Before joining IRRI, he worked as a Principal Scientist of Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice). As a rainfed-lowland rice breeder for West and Central Africa, he was able to release eight varieties in Nigeria, Madagascar, Gambia, and Sierra Leone).