Research Students Study Agricultural Systems in Africa

Contact: Dr. Orlando F. McMeans
(304) 766-4291
Aug. 19, 2013
WVSU Research Students Study Agricultural Systems in Africa
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – A group of West Virginia State University (WVSU) students gained firsthand experience with international agriculture during a recent research trip to Africa.

The group visited the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Nairobi, Kenya, for two weeks, studying disease resistance in crops, changing climates and environmental conditions.

The visit was part of an international agricultural research collaboration between WVSU and several non-profit agricultural research organizations in Asia, Africa and Mexico.   Besides CIMMYT, the group also visited several international research organizations in Kenya.

“The goal of this program is to expose our undergraduate students to the impact of genomic and genetic research on global agriculture and sustainability in developing countries,” said Dr. Padma Nimmakayala, WVSU associate research professor, who accompanied students on the trip.

Nimmakayala is hopeful that this program will provide unique learning opportunities for future students through summer internships and training programs in modern plant breeding at various research institutes in India, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines.

Such international collaboration will produce “scientific entrepreneurs” that will build careers translating genomic and genetic knowledge into innovation and application, she said.

The research experience was funded by USDA-NIFA 1890 Capacity Building Grant Award #2012-38821-20044 to Dr. Umesh K. Reddy, project director and professor of Biology at WVSU.

Plant genomics and disease-resistance are a significant part of the research portfolio of Reddy and Nimmakayala’s research team.

More on WVSU’s expanding research portfolio can be found at
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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