Manuela Alavaren Samaco is a biologist and plant pathologist focused on making an impact on global food security. She tells us why she is so passionate about this area of research and about the people who’ve motivated her in her scientific career.
I am currently conducting my master’s research into toxin production by a specific plant-pathogenic fungus that particularly affects agricultural crops. Expanding our knowledge in this area could help with crop breeding programs and, through my research, I hope to contribute to the improvement of agriculturally important crops and varieties. The end goal would be to develop crops that are resistant or tolerant to diseases, thus ensuring high yield and good crop quality. In turn, this will help to alleviate the effects of world hunger due to limited food resources.
I chose this field of research because I am an advocate for sustainable agriculture, which is essential in diminishing world hunger. My goal is to contribute to the improvement of food security in the long run. To achieve sustainable agriculture, it is important to have healthy crops that are free from or resistant to plant diseases. That’s why I chose the field of plant pathology – I want to study the biotic factors causing diseases to important food crops and help devise ways to prevent and manage them.
I am lucky that there are so many people in my life who inspire me to strive for the best. I have my research advisors, Dr. Brewer and Dr. Kemerait, as well as my former boss and mentor, Dr. Dela Cueva, to name a few. They believe in me and mentor aspiring young scientists like me to forge a good scientific career. I admire and look up to them because they are very dedicated to their work and they are advocates for research, especially in plant pathology.
Q: What kind of mindset do you need to achieve the Next Great Impossible?
A: Always persevere and never give up. We got this!