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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // Nov. 30, 2023 // 5(24)
Feature Story
CAFNR Fish Ecologist’s Research Indicates Need to Conserve Iconic Migratory Snook in Mexico (click to read)
CAFNR Fish Ecologist’s Research Indicates Need to Conserve Iconic Migratory Snook in Mexico »

A new study on the common snook, a prized game fish, will inform conservation policy in the Usumacinta River in southern Mexico

Research Highlights
 (click to read)
Graduate Student Spotlight
Elizabeth De Meyer (click to read)
Elizabeth De Meyer

Program: Ph.D. in plant, insect and microbial sciences
Advisor: Andrew Scaboo

What is your research focus?

I am currently improving soybean through integrating both applied and molecular breeding techniques. My dissertation projects involve accessing genetic diversity for seed protein content from wild soybean, increasing public soybean breeding efficiency through a collaborative dataset, and evaluating the performance of soybean varieties grown across environments in Africa.

Why does this field interest you?

Every year while growing up on my family’s vegetable and grain farm, I would examine the newest seed catalogs to pick the best varieties we could grow that season. My life-long curiosity and connection to agriculture led me to focus my career on plant breeding and the creation of new varieties. Through my studies, I have discovered many different plant breeding methods that I am excited to apply to take producers’ needs into account and develop varieties adapted to the changing climate.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?

I initially heard about the University of Missouri and its PhD opportunities through an internship at the Danforth Center in St. Louis. Someone at the internship who knew my research interests recommended Dr. Andrew Scaboo. Although I applied to several PhD programs, I selected the University of Missouri. Through conversations with Dr. Scaboo, I knew the diverse projects within his soybean breeding program best aligned with my interests and Mizzou could provide a strong education to advance my plant breeding career. Through my program so far, I have had access to countless opportunities. Just to list a few, I have completed a summer internship and fostered an ongoing collaboration with Benson Hill in St. Louis, I am a contributor on multiple invention disclosures, and I have presented my research in an invited oral presentation and will be submitting the corresponding publication in the coming months. All of these accomplishments would not have been possible without the support I have received at Mizzou.

What are your future career plans?

My career goal is to develop plant varieties aimed at increasing sustainability and diversity in our cropping and food systems. Regardless of the plant species and traits I target, I hope to integrate the applied and molecular breeding techniques I am currently combining within my PhD. After graduating, I would love to work in industry to develop improved crop varieties or collaborate with academia to improve understudied crops.

Research Roars

CAFNR Associate Dean to Chair National Advisory Committee

Shibu Jose, CAFNR associate dean for research, has been appointed to the Forestry Research Advisory Council (FRAC) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Secretary Vilsack. He was elected Chair recently and will continue in that role through 2024.

Tummons Recognized with Missouri Agriculture Award

On Nov. 16, John Tummons was named the 2023 Missouri Agriculture Education Leader at the Missouri Agriculture Awards. The Missouri Agriculture Awards recognize individuals who are leaders in their respective career fields.

CAFNR faculty members have received the following recent grants (listed by Principal Investigator):

Thomas Bonnot, Multi-scale Assessment of Missouri Eastern Whip-poor-will Population and Habitat in Alignment with the Missouri Comprehensive Conservation Strategy, Missouri Department of Conservation, 7/1/23-6/30/24, $94,282

Felix Fritschi, HCC:Medium: Optimizing Interactive Machine Learning Tools to Support Plant Scientists using Human Centered Design, University of Florida (NSF), 10/1/23-9/30/26, $250,461

Xiao Heng, Structural studies of HIV RNA elements and the RNA-host protein complexes involved in splicing and translation pathways, University of Minnesota (NIH), 8/10/23-7/31/24, $305,714

Gurpreet Kaur, Plant Tissue Laboratory Building at the Northern Missouri Research, Extension, and Education Center’s (NM-REEC) Cornett Research Farm, USDA, 9/12/23-9/30/24, $140,000

Dean Volenberg, Sustaining The Genome-Enabled Grape Breeding Program via Research, Education And Extension, Missouri State University (NIFA), 9/1/23-8/31/26, $77,614

Bradley Wilson, Determining Impacts of Root Knot Nematode Resistant Cultivars Compared to Chemical Management of Nematodes in Missouri Soils, Cotton, Inc., 1/1/24-12/31/24, $10,000

Bradley Wilson, Evaluation of Foliar Nutrient and Fungicide Products on Stressed Cotton Seedlings in Adverse Environmental Conditions, Cotton, Inc., 1/1/24-12/31/24, $10,000

Tim Reinbott, An Alternative Winter-Grazing System in the Solar Corridor Cropping System (SCCS) Will be Evaluated for Forage Yield and Nutritional Quality, Soil Health Impacts, and Economic, Lincoln University (NRCS), 8/16/23-7/31/26, $913,443

In the News

Missouri farmers adopt practices that improve their land, support environment
Missouri Independent

Farmers adopt practices that improve their land, support environment
Columbia Missourian

Economists say cattle prices haven’t hit their highs yet
Brownfield Ag News

What to Do If Talking About Money Causes Thanksgiving Strife
The Messenger

A Sustaining Force: MU Researcher Looks to Re-establish ‘Fire Culture’ with New Funding
Morning Ag Clips

The Value of Hay as Fertilizer

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