Nihal Buzkan of Turkey is savoring her time in the vineyards and labs at UC Davis like she would a good wine.
A professor of grapevine pathology at Kahramanmaras Sutcu Iman University, she is among the 15 scholars from 10 countries who are researching and teaching at UC Davis through the Fulbright Program.
“This is going to be my opportunity to learn many, many things,” Buzkan said. “This is the No. 1 agricultural university in the world.”
Fulbright programs encourage the mutual understanding of people between the United States and other countries and the exchange of knowledge and skills. Hosting this year’s cohort are UC Davis faculty in 11 departments across all four colleges and the School of Medicine.
Buzkan is returning to friends and a familiar campus where she did a postdoctoral fellowship from 2000 to 2002 with Andrew Walker, professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology.
“It is great having a Fulbright Scholar in the lab,” said Walker, who holds Louise Rossi Endowed Chair in Viticulture. “She provides a new set of eyes and thoughts, and broadens the research and life experience of my lab members.”
Buzkan is working on a project aimed at breeding rootstock hybrids that do not respond to viruses that can affect the graft union. She is evaluating the infected plants with micrografting techniques and growing conditions that will help the lab rapidly test new rootstock hybrids.
“The results will be useful all over the world,” Buzkan said. “And all the experiences I take with me back to Turkey, I will share with my students and colleagues.”
As the campus celebrates International Education Week, it will also be hosting the quarterly board meeting of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board on Nov. 14. Fulbright programs provide about 8,000 competitive grants each year to students, scholars and others from the United States and abroad to participate in Fulbright exchanges.