Mentee: Abhinandan Kumar
Mentor: David Simbo
When I started my bachelor's degree in agriculture in 2004, I never knew what I wanted out of it, and it was honestly a backup plan. I have a farming background, and my family has sustainably farmed for years for themselves on a small farm. But farming was not an occupation you wanted to have back in the days, at least in India. It was the 2nd year of my degree that I realized that knowledge of agriculture has so much to offer to this world. During my degree, I worked closely with farmers on rice, wheat, lentils, and flax cropping systems. By the end of my B.Sc (Agri), I just knew I wanted to be a scientist understanding plants and how to grow them better.
Through the early stages of my research career (M.Sc Biotech, 2008-2010), I genetically modified rice with Bt genes for preventing insect damage. However, that was just one of the numerous challenges farmers face. In 2011, I joined Dalhousie University, researching sustainable use of kelp (seaweed) on increasing the fruit yield in tomatoes against salinity (M.Sc Agri., 2011-2014). Salinity is a significant problem in most parts of the world. I had the chance to work with Acadian Seaplants Ltd. and understand how local industries and fundamental science can work together to increase food production worldwide.
In the last fifteen years of my realization of my love for agriculture, I am trying to understand the act of pollination, the most critical phenomenon important for food production. I hope to utilize my experience in improving crop yield in a holistic approach. And, I am ready to contribute back to the community working with giants of the agricultural industry.