By Sarah Dohle, Plant Biology
I really enjoy watching people grin or laugh out loud when I say that I research lima beans. It’s a memorable introduction and a wonderfully approachable way to get people curious about science and the potential of agriculture research.
On a more serious note, I can tell you that I’m working to improve crops for more sustainable farming practices. My project includes using next-generation sequencing technology to find genes associated with pest resistance to facilitate breeding improved crop varieties, in particular lima beans.
There are advantages to researching this plant at UC Davis. The lima bean breeding program is only one of two in the country. And, what we learn from lima beans can be applied to other crops as well.
I have the opportunity to work with scientists and farmers, and my research is a nice combination of lab and field work with potential for travel. In fact, I’m applying for a USAID National Science Foundation grant to collaborate with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia and work on lima bean research in the tropics during the winter.
Update on March 24: I've tentatively been awarded the USAID NSF fellowship (the final announcement will be in a couple of weeks), which means I'll be heading to Cali, Colombia, in October!
Sarah invites readers to Plant Breeding Symposium at UC Davis on April 11, 2014.