I am fascinated by the biological processes that underlie how plants interact with their environment, especially the symbiosis between plants and beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Evolved when plants first moved onto land, AM symbiosis is crucial to global carbon and nutrient cycles. The perception of AM fungi often enhances root growth, increasing the interface for symbiotic nutrient exchange. As an undergraduate at Cambridge, I identified the first receptor kinase required for this response in rice. As a Ph.D. student, I aim to pursue this exciting lead and elucidate the mechanisms of fungi perception and the signalling pathways that lead to enhanced root growth. This will also contribute to ongoing endeavours to engineer nitrogen-fixing symbiosis into cereal crops (e.g. rice) as it evolved from the older AM symbiosis and also involves reprogramming of root development. Nitrogen fertilisers produced from the Haber process have a substantial carbon footprint and realising this grand challenge will contribute towards sustainable, productive agriculture for food security. I am honoured to join the intellectual community at Gates Cambridge and aspire to contribute to work with transformative impacts on the society.