North Carolina State University
I’m a second year PhD student at North Carolina State University in Dr. Jim Holland’s lab (USDA-ARS Research Geneticist and Professor at Crop Science Department). My project’s is to apply genomic selection in a recurrent selection program for Fusarium ear rot and Fumonisin resistance in corn. I’m also using marker assisted selection to check the efficiency of QTLs (already published) for Fusarium resistance in a practical plant breeding program.
Why I became a scientist:
When I was a child, during the summer I used to help my father, who was a field technician in a plant breeding company. I was curious to understand why plant breeding was necessary. As a teenager I learned the answer, and I realized the role of plant breeding in feeding the world, so I decided that breeding was what I wanted to do.
During my bachelor studies, I participated in a corn-breeding project at the university, where one of the activities was to teach small farmers how they could produce their own seed. Since we had low resources, I imagined that the material quality would be low. To my surprise, it was very good, and that inspired me to pursue graduate school to become a plant breeder and possibly a professor, in order to teach future breeders and farmers to overcome adversity and develop plants with useful traits.
Plant breeding is a fascinating area that can help to fight hunger in almost all regions in the world. From drought tolerance to flood resistance, high or cold temperature tolerance, resistance to disease or tolerance to insect’s attacks, plant breeders have an important mission to produce better and more productive plants.