Luis Fernando Samayoa
I have been fortunate to join the group of Dr. Holland to work in a really interesting research field. My principal function in the project involves conducting field experiments on maize landraces, collecting leaf samples for DNA analysis and phenotypic data and conducting data analyses using quantitative genetics and GWAS study methods to determine the effects of inbreeding in these populations.
Why I Became a Scientist:
I was born and grew up in a town (Tecún Umán) on the border between Guatemala and Mexico; while a teenager I entered into a military high school, in which on one hand I was trained to start a military career and on the other I was receiving training in agronomy. The last year of high school (a requirement to complete school) I spent three months in a big farm (of dairy cattle, coffee and maize) located in a mountain zone; it was there where I began to be interested in the enhancement of crops. After that I decided to go the University to study agronomy and contribute to the improvement of the agriculture in my country instead of a military career.
My years of University increased my curiosity to know how plants work and how we can benefit of that knowledge. During and after completing college I worked in small and large farms of banana and plantains and also collaborated with a local researcher collecting landraces of common beans in the highlands of Guatemala.
The above could be defined as the first stage of my career, the second one began when I was awarded a scholarship to study my MSc in Plant Breeding in Spain (now my second homeland), and a subsequent grant to do my PhD, advised and mentored by two great researchers in the group of Maize and Breeding of the Misión Biológica de Galicia – CSIC in Pontevedra. I love working with this crop not only because it is a great model for quantitative genetics but because it is of paramount importance for human consumption especially in many developing countries.
In general I have learned that plants are extremely complex beings that can help us to solve those unknowns ranging from adaptation and evolution of the life in the planet up to how to produce more and better food sustainably, but, how? Just through the research. That is the reason why I've become a scientist, and that is the reason for I continue to be motivated to continue learning about this wonderful world.
PhD in Forest and Agricultural Research (Corn Breeding), University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
MSc in Plant Breeding, University of Lleida and IAMZ-CIHEAM, Spain
B.S. in Agronomy, University of San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala
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