Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics PhD
Sarchi, Costa Rica
I completed my undergraduate at Costa Rica’s Institute of Technology (TEC), Masters at UW-Madison and I am currently working on a PhD at UW-Madison as well.
What is your research about and what is the impact? How does it relate to the horticulture industry, what is the goal?
Carrots are grouped and commercialized in different market classes that depend on mostly on shape but also the size and end-use of the carrot root. Although closely associated with carrot economics, we are just starting to understand the quantitative traits that compose market class. My goal is to better understand the underlying genetics of carrot shape and thus market class. My research will hopefully expand the scope of carrot breeding which traditionally occurs within market class and provide new opportunities for carrot breeders to develop the existing market classes and better understand complex traits related to carrot market class.
What was the path you took to work in plant sciences? And then what advice would you give to your younger self to get into the field/career you are in today?
I’ve been interested in plants from a very early age. I remember getting in trouble for using a needle to try to inject water into my grandmother’s plants. I enjoyed working in a high tunnel farming tomatoes and peppers with Professor C. Ramirez during my undergrad years at TEC. I also found meaning in growing vegetables that we later transformed into sauce or other preparations. The positive emotion associated with those experiences made me choose plant sciences. I’d say to my younger self to take opportunities as life presents them if the opportunities align with your career aim.
What inspires you to do the work you do?
I love growing vegetables that I could later transform into food and enjoy. I find meaning in doing basic research to better understand phenomena and in generating information that is useful to others now or in the future.