Summary: University of Cambridge, Department of Plant Sciences (PhD Student)
Experiencing the tragedy of disease, poverty and starvation, both personally and in various countries, has left an indelible passion in me to pursue plant science to make a brighter future for humanity. For my Master’s research, I studied the inheritance of disease resistance and spicy flavor in chile peppers, where I discovered a new gene that inhibits disease resistance, helped sequence the chile pepper genome and broke the world record for "hottest pepper". At Cambridge, I will investigate improving crop productivity by working towards transferring the more efficient C4 photosynthesis into less efficient C3 photosynthetic, yet economically important, crops--notably rice and wheat. Engineering C4 photosynthesis into C3 crops could potentially increase current yields by 50%, while adding greater nitrogen- and water-use efficiency. This would be an incredible solution to global food security and supply! Upon completion of a PhD, I aspire to become a plant breeder.