Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Asia Rice Foundation USA announces 2014 Travel and Study Award Winners

During their15th annual meeting, held on 5 July at U.C. Davis, the trustees of the Asia Rice Foundation USA (ARFUSA) announced two 2014 winners of the organization’s Travel and Study Award Program. Ana Maria Bossa Castro and Haley Sater will each receive a $3,500 travel grant to visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in the coming months.

Ms. Bossa Castro, a native of Colombia, is a second-year PhD student at Colorado State University (CSU). Her research project, Defeating Bacterial Diseases of Rice: Novel Resistance Sources for Rice Crops in Africa and Latin America, is a collaborative project among CSU, IRRI, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia.

At IRRI, she will participate in the Institute’s 3-week international course, Rice: Research to Production in 2015. The course will provide her with a unique opportunity to learn from experts about the latest rice research, as well as the most efficient production techniques. She will also meet with IRRI scientists collaborating with her to update them about her bacterial disease research and to discuss future experiments.

Ms. Bossa Castro has also received funding for her PhD research from the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program.

Ms. Sater, a Minnesota native, is working on her master’s degree at the University of Arkansas. Her research involves obtaining better abiotic stress tolerance in rice. These stresses, especially drought and salinity, limit rice production all over the world.

Her time at IRRI will involve a 3-month research project with Glenn Gregorio and other breeders to help close the information gap regarding dual drought and salinity tolerance in rice. She will help develop a method for phenotypic evaluation of the two stresses. This preliminary study will provide a foundation for future research into the mechanism for dual stress resistance. It may also be used to help breeders determine which lines might be useful to incorporate into crosses to achieve hardier plant types for growing in drought- and salinity-afflicted areas.

ARFUSA is made up primarily of U.S.-based former IRRI staff members who have all worked and lived in countries where rice is vital for food and to earn a livelihood. They started the foundation to support activities that help contribute toward a world that can feed itself, treasure the rich heritage of rice cultures, and value rice- growing land as a precious resource to be shared with future generations. The foundation is particularly interested in cultivating the next generation of rice scientists through its Travel and Study Awards to young scholars.

Applications for 2015 Travel and Study Awards are now being accepted. The deadline is 1 June 2015. More details can be found at http://www.asiariceusa.org/awards.html.

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