Student Speaker Award Recipients

Anju Biswas

Anju Biswas

Anju Biswas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida, expected to graduate in Fall 2022. She works with Dr. Esteban Rios in Forage Breeding and Genomics lab. Originally, she is from Bangladesh and earned her Bachelor's in Agriculture and her first Masters in Genetics and Plant Breeding from there. Then she started her second Master’s at Delaware State University (DSU) in Plant Science to expand her plant science research skills. She worked with horticultural crops, genetics, and tissue culture before beginning her Ph.D. After finishing the 2nd Master’s, she started her Ph.D. at UF with the ambition to lead a research team and contribute to the breeders' community. Now she is working on alfalfa breeding using Phenomics, Genomics, and Crop Modeling to develop locally adapted alfalfa cultivars to meet the local forage demand. She is very interested both in research development and mentoring students and open to working either in academia or industry upon completing her Ph.D.

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Edgar Sierra

Edgar Sierra was born and raised in Mexico. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Plant Science from the Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Mexico. Upon graduation in 2009, he was hired as a pest and disease manager for a 36-hectare farm producing bell peppers, blueberries, and blackberries. After working there for 7 years, in 2016 he obtained the Fulbright award and moved to Florida to pursue his master’s degree at UF. He graduated with a Master in Horticultural Sciences in December of 2018. Since January 2019, he has been working towards his PhD, also at the University of Florida. He is a student at the tomato breeding lab at the GCREC-UF. The focus of his research is the identification of resistance to target spot of tomato caused by Corynespora cassiicola, in

tomato wild relatives, characterization and mapping of major resistance genes/QTLs, and advancement of resistance into cultivated tomato.

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Sandeep Chapagain

Sandeep Chapagain is Ph.D. Candidate in School of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University, Agricultural Center, USA. He has completed MS Agriculture (2018) from Kangwon National University, South Korea and BS Agriculture Science (2014) Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He joined LSU in 2018 Fall in PhD program with crop plants genetics lab under the supervision of Professor Dr. Prasant Subudhi. His PhD research is focused on abiotic stress tolerance breeding and genetics, specially salinity tolerance rice breeding. He has published more than 10 research articles and two book chapters as first and coauthor. Besides academia, he is interested in volunteering, leadership and professional development programs. His future research goal is to develop climate resilient crop varieties for future food security along with understanding molecular mechanisms of stress physiology and adaptation mechanisms by plants.

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Sudip Kunwar

Sudip Kunwar is a Ph.D. student in Plant Breeding Graduate Program (PBGP) at the University of Florida. He works with Dr. Ali Babar in world food crop breeding lab. Originally, he is from Nepal and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from the Agriculture and Forestry University, Nepal. Then, he joined the Master of Science program in the Horticultural Sciences department at the University of Florida in 2019. He worked with Dr. Ute Albrecht focusing on citrus physiology at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center during his master’s program and completed his degree in May 2021. Then he received Plant Breeding Graduate Initiative (PBGI) award to pursue his Ph.D. in plant breeding, starting Fall 2021. His Ph.D. research will focus on the improvement of wheat yield and physiological traits under heat-stressed conditions. With the use of UAV-based hyperspectral imagery and genomics data, he will develop different prediction models for multiple traits using various regression and machine learning algorithms