Rice: Research to Production - 2011 Course Participants
PhD Research Scholar, CESD, IRRI
Shahana obtained BSc Agricultural Engineering from Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh in 1996. She joined BRRI (Bangladesh Rice Research Institute) as Scientific Officer in Irrigation and Water Management Division during 1998. She was promoted to Senior Scientific Officer in same division in 2006. She then got PhD scholarship funnded by CSISA (Cereal Systems Initiatives for South Asia) in 2009. Now, she is doing her PhD research work at IRRI. Her objective is to complete PhD and build uup her career for research in irrigation and water management in her country and abroad.
Thais Fernanda Stella de Freitas
Instituto Rio Grandese do Arroz (IRGA) and Intern, IRRI CESD
Thais is Braziliian, she graduated in Agronomy in 2005 and Msc. in Crop Management in the Univerisade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Since Nov 2007, Thais works in the Instituto Rio Grandense do Arroz (IRGA) in Brazil, which is the research and extension agency for Rice in Rio Grande do Sul. Thais is a researcher in the crop management division, focused in entomology science. Plant-insect interactions, commmunity ecology, chemical and biological control are her major interests. Besides to the research activitties, she participates in the extension program of the institute, in activities as field days, seminars and producing informative material.
University of Burundi
Georges HABARUGIRA was born in RUSAMA, Burundi in 1979. He is holding a BSc from the faculty of Agricultural Sciences at University of Burundi. He is now working as a Research assistant in IRRI-Burundi. Before joining IRRI, he was a project coordinator of capacity building of farmers' organizations founded by USADF (United States African Developmen nt Foundation) from October 2009 to November 2010. From June 2009 to September 2009, Georges was emmployed in DRABIAF project (farm income diversification in Burundi through intensification of Arboriculture and fruit culture) Founded by CARITAS BELGIUM for identification, localization and characterization of exotic fruit on the territory of Burunddi as a trainee.
Graduate Student at the University of Arizona
After I graduated from South China Agricultural University in 2007, I went to Dr. Yaoguang Liu's lab at South China Agricultural University for my masters study. During that period, I cloned the male sterility gene S1 in the recombinant inbred line between Asian cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) and African cultivated rice (Oryza glaberrima) and did some functional analysis of this gene with a PhD student in the lab. Then I began to study and work in Dr. Rod Wing’s lab at the University of Arizona in 2009. I am interested in the domestication and adaptation of O. glaberrima and its wild ancestor O. barthii in my PhD study. Now, I am using the next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach to genotype and map the domestication related genes in O. glaberrima. In addition, I am using NGS method to examine the population structure of O. glaberrima and O. barthii.
PhD student, the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield,
I am from Shenyang, Liaoning, China. I received my B.E. degree in Environmental Engineering from Shenyang Agricultural University in 2003 and an MSc degree in Environmental Science from Liaoning University in 2006. I started my PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Prof. W. Paul Quick and Prof. Andrew Fleming in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield in the UK. My PhD thesis investigates the molecular basis of cold tolerance in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. I have developed a screen for identifying cold-acclimated A. thaliana mutants, which has lead to the identification of a novel gene (LTR1) that is involved in freezing tolerance. My research contributes to our current genetic basis understanding of cold tolerance and has the broader aim of improving this trait in commercially valuable crop species. I am currently working as a PhD scholar at IRRI for three months as part of the C4 Rice Project. My research interests also include food security and climate change.
PhD Student, University of Cambridge
My name is Britta Kuempers and I am 25 years old. I was born and raised near Aachen in Germany. I obtained a Bachelor with Honours in plant Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and then stayed on for a MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh. I am now in my first year of my PhD at the University of Cambridge where I am studying the development of leaf venation in species with C3 and C4 photosynthesis.
Pratyush Ranjan Singh
Graduate Student in the International Agricultural and Rural Development at Cornell University
I am Ford foundation fellow and graduate student at Cornell University. My research interests include conservation agriculture, soil health, sustainable livelihood promotion and food security. After completing my bachelors in agricultural engineering in 2004 in India, I started exploring grass-roots development work and gaining various socio-technical skills by implementing livelihood projects. Learning through my experiences, I was focused on increasing agriculture productivity from managing land, livestock, forests and water resources. I was involved in identifying best possible livelihood opportunities, promoting, and managing programs to help poor and marginalized communities. My strategic approach towards development has been building community based institutions and strengthening village level systems to encourage participatory development.
IRRI ESA Program
My name is Maria Natalia Tesinde. In 1986, I graduated in Agronomy as technician and started to work for IIAM in rice research program in the same year, was based in Chokwe, Gaza province, the "base" research station of IIAM in south of Mozambique. In 1994, I was transferred to Umbeluzi research station, Maputo Province, working in the same programme (rice). I took opportunity to continue to study in a sandwich program. In 2008, I started working on an IRRI-IIAM collaborative program in south of Mozambique on the following activities: Conduct of on station and on farm trials, collecting data and analysis and Seed production. Then, in 2009, I did my BCs on Environment Engineer.
PhD Student, Charles Sturt University
Anna is originally from New Zealand where she graduated from the University of Otago, Dunedin with an honours degree before moving to Australia. She has been based at the NSW Department of Industry and Investment, Gosford for the past two years where she is completing a PhD through Charles Sturt University. Her PhD project is based on a plant pathogen and its insect vector with a particular focus on the risk that these organisms pose to Australia with much of the field and laboratory work for her project being completed in California. She is supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity and the E H Graham Centre.
Vicky T. Dimaano
Science Research Assistant, Philippine Rice Research Institute
Vicky is a junior researcher currently involved in various research studies under the R&D projects of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), particularly (1) Development, Evaluation, and Enhancement of Mitigation and Adaptation Technologies and Strategies to Climate Change, (2) Improving the Nutritional and Economic Conditions of Rice-based Farming Communities, and (3) Development of Systems for Crop Diversification and Intensification. Her involvement in different rice researches helped her to develop a strong interest to understand more comprehensively the process of rice production including new researches and innovations that can address the current problems of the rice industry. She obtained her BS Biology degree at the Central Luzon State University in 2002 and plans to pursue an MS Degree in Environmental Management. With her enhanced knowledge and skills, she envisions herself to be working on development of new technologies, products, or systems that will increase the productivity and livelihood of the people in the rural communities at the same time protecting and sustaining the environment. She is 29 years old, married, and a mother of two.
PhD Scholar, CESD, IRRI
Jedi is a PhD research scholar at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, working on the mechanisms of brown planthopper adaptation to resistant rice varieties. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the Laboratory of Entomology in Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Jedeliza first joined IRRI in 2005 as a researcher working on the isolation of microsatellite markers for the rice brown planthopper collected across rice-growing regions in Asia. She loves learning new techniques and enjoys teaching these skills to others. While she finds the laboratory bench her comfort zone, her natural curiosity led her to explore the realms outside the lab. She is now actively learning the biology of the rice brown planthopper and hopes that in the future she could contribute knowledge as to how this pest overcomes the defenses of resistant rice varieties.
Charizabel "Chill" Fortunado
Sr. Specialist- Fund Raising, Development Office, IRRI
I am Charizabel Fortunado. My family is from Quezon province, about 60 kilometers south of Los Banos. Both my grandparents are coconut and rice farmers. My dad was a former employee of IRRI and I am the eldest of three children. I graduated BS Food Science and Technology in 1998 and pursued MS Community Development in 2002 both at UPLB. After college I worked as a food chemist for two years in a biscuit company before I joined an international relief and development organization based in Manila for 10 years. Last October 2010 I moved back to Los Baños and worked with IRRI's Development Office.
Leo Chen Ian
Executive Director, IRRI Fund
Leo Chen Ian is currently the Executive Director of the IRRI Fund in Singapore and has spent over a decade in the non-profit sector. Ian was previously a member of the IRRI Fund Board from 2009-2011. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director of the Fund, he held the position of Executive Director of The Centre for Asian Philanthropy (CAP) since its inception in February 2008. Ian has been involved in advocacy work and the championing of disability issues in the Asian region through his work as the President of the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) from 2005. Before joining the non-profit sector, Ian spent 5 years in academia specializing in the life sciences (Molecular Development Biology). He is also a kayaker, scuba diver and sailor, he represented Singapore in sailing at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Ian is married with 2 children.
Program Assistant, RRDI
I am Nadeeka Subhashini Somarathna, 33 years old. I have received BSc (Agriculture), and MSc (Crop Science), degrees from University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka. After my graduation I have joined RRDI, Sri Lanka and I am presently involve in rice breeding, varietal improvement and seed production activities for the past five years (From 05th August 2005 to date) at Rice Research and Development Institute Bathalagoda, Sri Lanka as Programme Assistant (Agriculture). It is the major rice breeding center in Sri Lanka and proceeds many rice varietal improvement programmes in this institution. I like to sing songs and read books during my leisure times.
IRRI Eastern and Southern Africa, Tanzania
My name is Raheli Elibariki, a Research technician at IRRI, Southern and Eastern African Region located in Tanzania where am working for the improvement of rice production. Previously I worked with WWF and Care international as a field officer in the project of equitable payment for water shed services, Morogoro region Tanzania. I am a BSc graduate from Sokoine University of agriculture, Tanzania, pursued Environmental sciences and management. I like to learn from other people.
Gerald was born in eastern Uganda in 1979. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 2005 at Makerere University, he soon enrolled for a Master of Science degree in Crop Science which he completed in 2009. He now works with AfricaRice Center as a Research Assistant for Weed Science based at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is involved in research on parasitic weeds of rice; Striga and Rhamphicarpa fistulosa which are production constraints in rice production systems. Gerald also worked as a Research Officer/ Agronomist at the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in Uganda. He is keen on developing a career in rice research.
PhD Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University
United States of America
I grew up surrounded by rice fields in a rural town in the Southeastern United States, and he developed a curiosity for agriculture through experiences in 4-H, raising livestock, and on the farms of my grandparents. Two days after graduating with my Master’s degree in Agriculture at the University of Arkansas, I began an internship as a rice consultant in the most productive rice-growing region in North America. Upon completion of the internship, I was hired as a County Extension Agent in a major rice-producing county in northeast Arkansas. My two years of experience as an Extension Educator and my desire to work internationally inspired me to further education. Currently, I am in my second year as a PhD Candidate in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University where I am investigating host plant resistance of Oryza sativa to the rice stink bug, Oebalus pugnax (Fabricius) under the guidance of Dr. Mike Stout and Dr. Natalie Hummel.
PhD Graduate Student in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Department at Cornell University
United States of America
I received my BS and MSc degrees in Genetics and Biotechnology from Brigham Young University in 2006 and 2008, respectively. My research focuses on using GWAS to harness the genotyping power of the newly developed rice Affymetrix SNP chips with the high throughput phenotyping power of ionomics to shed light on the genes responsible for regulating nutrient/heavy metal uptake and vegetative translocation. All of my plants are grown hydroponically in a specially designed sub-toxic yet ionomically robust nutrient solution in order to stimulate transporters for as many different elements as possible and to control the environmental variance incumbent upon such highly quantitative traits. As a joint member of both the Kochian and McCouch labs, I find myself uniquely positioned to leverage the wealth of genetic and genomic resources developed for rice by Dr. Susan McCouch against the hydroponic and analytical chemistry expertise housed at the USDA Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health.
George (Trey) Cutts
PhD student studying Plant Breeding at Texas A&M University
United States of America
Originally from Marietta, Georgia, I am currently studying Plant Breeding under the direction of Dr. Jane Dever. This project is focused on improving imazamox tolerance in cotton through conventional breeding, which will help increase weed control options for producers as well as improve the work of non-GMO crop herbicide tolerance. I received my BS at the University of Georgia in Turfgrass Management with a minor in Agribusiness in 2007. Following graduation, I was employed as an assistant farm manager at a sod farm in Red Level, Alabama. In January 2008, I began an MS degree at the University of Georgia under the direction of Dr. Timothy Grey in the area of Weed Science. His research focused on herbicide screening for weed control in napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) during establishment as a crop, as well as control methods of this potentially weedy species. My experience also includes research with the USDA-ARS at the Southeast Watershed Laboratory analyzing herbicidal formulations of metolachlor in conservation tillage systems. I completed my MS at UGA in May of 2010. I am scheduled to complete is PhD in 2013 and hopes to begin my post-graduate career in international agricultural research.
PhD Student in the Rice Functional Genomics lab at Pennsylvania State University
United States of America
I am currently a PhD of Dr. Yinong Yang at Pennsylvania State University. Throughout my academic career, I have followed my interest in genetic resistance at both the population and molecular level. I am originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN as an undergraduate. I graduated with a BA in Biology in 2004, with a specialization in ecology and conservation biology. From there, I worked as a research assistant for the department of Plant Pathology at Ohio State University, working in the forest pathology lab on the 2004 Sudden Oak Death Survey. After completion of the project, I transferred to the soybean pathology lab, where I spent another year mapping quantitative trait loci in soybean for resistance to White mold. I attended Purdue University as a master’s student in the USDA small grains lab of Dr. Stephen Goodwin, where I worked on fine-scale mapping of a major resistance gene in wheat to Septoria tritici blotch. I received a MSc in August 2007, and shortly afterwards I moved to Penn State to begin my PhD program. My current research focuses on the ethylene biosynthesis pathway in rice, and its implications for disease resistance to rice blast and sheath blight disease. My broader interests include food security, international agriculture, and agricultural policy.
Graduate Student in International Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University
United States of America
Over the course of my undergraduate studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, where I majored in Sociology and minored in Environmental Studies, I spent a semester in South Africa through the School of International Training. Due to Hurricane Katrina, I spent the fall semester of my senior year at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. After graduation my graduation from Xavier, I accepted an internship in Biodiversity Conservation in Jamaica. This involved, meeting with herbalists and collecting information to be compiled into a medicinal plant manual. I also worked as a Montessori school teacher in a kindergarten. Six months later I returned home to NYC and completed a certificate in Globalization and International Affairs from Bard College. In 2008, I launched an annual summer camp in Haiti as an outgrowth of my great aunt’s larger development project. Some of my specific interests include: rice, the agricultural value-chain from production to market, extension, agricultural research, added-value agricultural products, helping farmers and small agribusinesses reach new markets, strengthening farmer cooperatives, and youth. Prior to becoming a student at Cornell, I worked for Cornell University Cooperative Extension as an extension agent in Family and Youth Development. I am currently completing graduate work at Cornell in International Agriculture and Rural Development.
PhD Student in the Biology Department at University of Massachusetts
United States of America
I am currently a researcher in Ana Caicedo's lab at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, working on comparative genomics in weedy rice. I earned my PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010, where my dissertation work focused on the domestication of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for winemaking. During the IRRI shortcourse I hope to familiarize myself with all aspects of rice biology, and learn about what is happening with rice research worldwide.
Master Student in the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics Department at University of Georgia
United States of America
I grew up in the town of Old Forge, NY, which is a beautiful-wilderness region located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. After finishing my high school education at the Town of Webb high school, a particularly inspiring teacher got me to pursue environmental biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). There I realized I was strongly interested in biochemistry, genetics, animals, plants, and specifically transgenics, so I majored in biotechnology. At SUNY-ESF I had the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research, and studied the symbiotic relationships between forest trees and a diverse number of bacteria using a molecular approach. Also while at SUNY-ESF I was intrigued by transgenic plants, and their ability to provide unique traits and added value to consumer crops. For this reason I decided to pursue my MS degree in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics at the University of Georgia where I have developed a transformation system for elite genotypes of switchgrass, while heavily depending on rice tissue culture and transformation as a model system. I have been accepted into their PhD program, where my dissertation research will focus on conventional and marker-assisted breeding of soybean.
Lawton (Lanier) Nalley
Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Arkansas
United States of America
I am a native of Georgia where he was raised outside of Atlanta. I received a BS degree in agricultural and development economics with minors in development studies and European history from The Ohio State University. I received my MS degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State. I earned my PhD from Kansas State University in 2007 in agricultural economics with an emphasis on international development. While at Kansas State I conducted research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in Mexico City, on the welfare analysis of international public wheat breeding. I also served as a volunteer in Ghana surveying women’s cooperatives in regards to microfinance loans. My current research is on international agricultural policy, the economics of public plant breeding, and international development.
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Department at Tufts University
United States of America
I am student specializing in food security and livelihoods in emergency contexts. I am particularly interested in the use of value chain analysis and market-based approaches to improve the livelihood outcomes of small-scale farmers and crisis-affected populations. Prior to graduate school, I worked in the area of international disaster response at the American Red Cross, at first monitoring and responding to emergencies worldwide and later focused specifically on long-term humanitarian programming in East Africa. I became interested in rice production last summer while working in Senegal and the Gambia developing programs to reduce disaster risk among subsistence rice and millet farming communities.
PhD in Bio agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University
United States of America
I am a plant pathologist. In high school and college I became strongly interested in both plant biology and microbiology, and was very relieved to find out that I didn’t have to choose between the two fields. A college semester living with three host families in East Africa bolstered my commitment to working on problems of global agricultural importance. After completing my PhD research on molecular pathogenesis of fruit tree-infecting bacteria in 2009, I joined the rice research lab at Colorado State University as a postdoctoral fellow. My work there focuses on developing tools for rapidly detecting emerging pathogens such as the rice pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae. My main project is to apply concepts and tools from the field of synthetic biology toward plant disease detection and resistance, and I’m also developing a user-friendly program for designing diagnostic tests from unfinished genomic sequence. I am very excited to learn more about the international rice community so that I may better apply my research to current problems faced by growers.
Dang Minh Tam
PhD Scholar, Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Division, IRRI
I am a junior researcher at Genetics and Plant Breeding Department, Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute, Vietnam. I am working in the field and the lab to improve rice quality and higher yield. The new rice cultivars have been released to the famers every year by the institute and tested in twelve provinces of Mekong Delta in the South of Vietnam. I graduated my master degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Queensland, Australia. I am now studying my PhD in plant breeding at UPLB and doing the research at virology lab in IRRI under the supervision of Dr. Il-Ryong Choi.