What inspires plant scientists and why is their job so important? Nat Graham explains:
Why did you want to be a plant scientist?
I was interested in using technology to help solve problems like hunger and malnutrition. I liked the idea of applying the latest breakthroughs in science to problems that we have been trying to solve for decades.
Can you explain what your job involves?
I work directly with biotechnology in maize, specifically on how we can improve the process. Right now, the process itself takes almost a year from start to finish and is extremely tedious. My lab is working on different technologies and strategies to help make the process easier and hopefully faster and more cost efficient. To do that, I am constantly in the lab working on corn tissue cultures, and maintaining different maize lines.
What are the crop enhancements that you are working on?
I’m really working on the step before the enhancements. Our lab works on technology that would help others make the improvements much more quickly than we can do now.
Can you describe how this technology will benefit farmers/society?
The benefit for farmers could be large as a result of our work. We are hoping that as a result of our work we are able to add multiple enhancements at once and at a faster rate as well.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
The ability to solve world hunger is going to require a lot of different players. I am a firm believer that scientists are an important part of the complicated solution. When we combine biotechnology with the great results breeding has already done for years, we are going to be able to greatly improve our chances of solving the problem.
What inspires you about your job?
I know that what I am doing can make a real difference. Biotechnology has so much potential and it is amazing to be on the front lines.
— Nat Graham (@natnotgnat) February 21, 2017
Nat is a graduate biotechnology researcher at the University of Missouri, USA