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Scientific Workforce Programs
Year Awarded 2020
FFAR award amount $97,500
Total award amount $195,000
Location University of California, Berkeley
Matching Funders Syngenta
Nanoscale engineering tools pave new opportunities for exploring plant biotechnology, genetic transformations and improving water retention in crops. Lui is analyzing fundamental theories of fluid flow and continuum mechanics to model the response of cells to external stimuli, such as engineered nanoparticles and nonpolar molecules.
Location Texas A&M University
Matching Funders Cotton, Inc
Seedbank management, controlling weed escapes before and after crop harvest, can reduce herbicide-resistant weeds and improve the longevity of available herbicide tools. Palmer amaranth, an aggressive weed species, threatens crop production and profitability. Focusing on cotton production, Kezar is developing integrated strategies for minimizing seedbank addition from palmer amaranth escapes.
FFAR award amount $15,000
Total award amount $30,000
Location University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matching Funders Wisconsin Potatoe Growers
Potato late blight is a devastating potato disease caused by a fungus-like organism. Potato producers primarily use chemical fungicides to control late blight, however these fungicides can negatively impact leaf surfaces, soils and aquifers. Hansen is investigating spray induced gene silencing as alternative methods to control late blight in potato. This research provides growers alternative tools to protect potato crops.
Matching Funders Stars & Roses
With a rapidly changing environment and a growing population, agriculture must adapt to remain sustainable. Farber uses Raman spectra, a laser technology, to predict the health and stress of a plant. This research accelerates breeding and identifies diseases to ensure crops continue to thrive despite climate change.
Location Colorado State University
Insects are a novel way to provide protein for human and animal consumption. Black soldier fly larvae are especially ideal as livestock feed because of their high protein content. Additionally, the larvae waste can improve soil fertility and support urban agricultural environments, Chavez is investigating potential applications for waste produced by black soldier fly larvae during the industrial rearing process.
Year Awarded 2019
FFAR award amount $927,581
Total award amount $1,855,162
Location Davis, California 95616
Program Seeding Solutions
Matching Funders Benson Hill
Plants need nitrogen to grow. Although the majority of earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen, plants cannot access this form of nitrogen. We awarded a grant to the University of California, Davis to study a Mexican corn variety, Sierra Mixe, that obtains atmospheric nitrogen with the help of microbes, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.
Location University of California
Matching Funders Corigin
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant roots can improve yields, reduce the need for water and fertilizers and protect crops from pathogens. Stevenson’s research is addressing knowledge gaps preventing the fungi’s most effective use and application.
Location Tuskegee University
Matching Funders Tuskegee University
Cowpea is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop and a dry bean in semi-arid regions of the world. Cowpea productivity may be hindered by increasing temperatures and diseases. Ritte is identifying cowpeas with drought-tolerance and disease resistance to improve yields in a changing climate.
Location University of Minnesota
Matching Funders Perennial Agriculture Project
The sunflower-like perennial, Silphium integrifolium, which provides numerous ecosystem services, is losing its pest and pathogen resistance traits. Peterson is conducting a survey of the natural genetic variation of wild Silphium integrifoliu populations to assess where variation for pest and pathogen resistance exists.
Matching Funders Bill & Melinda Gates
With the growing threats of climate change and diminishing natural resources, farmers must do more with less – and fast. Patel’s research is using genetic engineering to improve photosynthetic efficiency, improve water use and maximize crop yield.
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