Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
Seven Department of Agronomy and Horticulture doctoral students are recipients of scholarships and fellowships for their high scholastic merit and research potential.
They are Osler Ortez, Balpreet Kaur Dhatt, Anthony Akpofure Amori, Christopher Anuo, Rituraj Khound, Chenyong Miao and Manny Saluja.
Ortez, specializing in crop production, was awarded a Crop Science Graduate Student Scholarship. This annual award is presented to a meritorious graduate student in crop science for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research.
Ortez’s research focuses on studying factors responsible for ear abnormalities and productivity losses in corn. He is advised by Roger Elmore, professor of agronomy and horticulture, and Justin McMechan, assistant professor of entomology.
The Crop Science Graduate Student scholarship is supported by gifts from the Gerald O. Mott family to the Agronomic Science Foundation and administered by the Crop Science Society of America.
Ortez and Dhatt received the Hardin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to outstanding graduate students and supports research in plant physiology with particular emphasis on genetic mechanisms influencing plant responses to stress conditions.
Dhatt, specializes in plant breeding and genetics. Her research is on understanding the impact of increasing temperatures on seed development with a focus on rice. Dhatt is advised by Harkamal Walia, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellow and Heuermann Chair of Agronomy.
Amori, Anuo, Khound, Miao and Saluja received Widaman Distinguished Graduate Fellowships. This award is for graduate students with high scholastic merit and research potential conducting basic research in agriculture.
Amori, specializing in soil and water science, is advised by Haishun Yang, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture. His research focuses on the optimization of irrigation scheduling tools with a goal of achieving high yield and profit for irrigated crops while saving water and energy, and improving the environmental quality using real-time information derived from remote sensing and weather forecast as inputs to crop modeling to guide crop irrigation.
Anuo’s research involves investigating land use effect on soil organic carbon dynamics in the Great Plains. Specializing in soil and environmental chemistry Anuo is advised by Michael Kaiser, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture.
Khound, specializing in plant breeding and genetics, is advised by Dipak Santra, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture. His research goal is to develop breeding tools for the genetic improvement of proso millet.
Miao’s research focuses on both developing and applying phenomics-, quantitative genetics-, and artificial intelligence-based tools to link genotype to phenotype in agricultural crops including maize and sorghum. He is advised by James Schnable, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture and the Dr. Charles O. Gardner Professor of Agronomy.
Saluja, specializing in plant breeding and genetics, is advised by Walia and Scott Sattler, USDA research molecular biologist and adjunct associate professor of agronomy. Her research focuses on the physiological and molecular response of roots to drought stress in crop plants.