Global Perspective; Tech's Plant & Soil Science Department hosts Borlaug Fellow
This spring, Texas Tech University's Department of Plant and Soil Science is hosting a Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellow. In this case, it's Malaysia's Mei Mei Hii, who'll be spending three months alongside her Tech mentor, Venugopal Mendu, an assistant professor of cell wall biology.
The Borlaug Fellowship program, administered by the USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service, promotes food security and economic growth by providing research and training opportunities for scientists and policymakers from developing and middle-income countries.
"Hosting a Borlaug fellow is an accomplishment for both the department and the college," said Michael Galyean, dean of Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "It sets a path for the department for future participation in this program."
While at Tech, Hii will focus on identification of cell wall degrading enzymes from soil bacteria by sequencing the bacterial genomes. These enzymes have potential applications in biofuel and bioproduct industries.
Hii is a research officer with the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, a government research center, in Malaysia. She received her bachelor's degree in biotechnology from Malaysia's University of Science, and her master's degree in microbiology from University of Adelide, Australia.
Program officials indicated that Borlaug Fellows are selected based on a number of factors including academic and professional interests, level of scientific competence, aptitude for scientific research, leadership potential, and likelihood of bringing back new ideas to their home institution. They are generally scientists, researchers or policymakers who are in the early or middle stages of their careers.
Since the program's inception in 2004, approximately 700 fellows from 64 countries have participated in research and training focused on a wide array of agriculture-related topics, including agronomy, veterinary science, nutrition, food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, natural resource management, agricultural biotechnology, global climate change, agricultural economics and agricultural policy.
By NORMAN MARTIN
CONTACT: Eric Hequet, Department Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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