04 Oct 2017

2017 IPNI Scholar Award Recipients

October 4, 2017 – Peachtree Corners, GA, USA -The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) has selected the winners of the 2017 Scholar Award. A total of 37 graduate students, representing 20 countries, were chosen. Each Scholar receives the equivalent of US$2,000.

“The selection committee was challenged by a record response by applicants,” said Dr. Terry L. Roberts, IPNI President. “Each IPNI Scholar should be proud of their accomplishment. They have each demonstrated an impressive body of work and are already contributing greatly to the field of plant nutrition,” said Roberts.

Graduate students attending a degree-granting institution located in any country within an IPNI regional program are eligible. The award is available to graduate students in science programs relevant to plant nutrition science and the management of crop nutrients including: agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, environmental science, and others.

Regional committees of IPNI scientific staff select the recipients of the IPNI Scholar Award. The awards are presented directly to the students at a preferred location and no specific duties are required of them. Funding for the scholar award program is provided through support of IPNI member companies, primary producers of nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and other fertilizers.

More information is available from IPNI staff, individual universities, or the IPNI website http://www.ipni.net/awards.

The winners are listed below by continent, country, and university/institution.

Mrs. Abeba Nigussie Retta, College of Dryland Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia is earning her Ph.D. in soil science. Her dissertation title is “Managing of Low Carbon and Alkaline Soils in the Cereal Based Cropping System of the Northern Semiarid Zone of Ethiopia.” Her research focuses on improving the livelihood of smallholder farmers through integrated soil fertility management (organic and inorganic amendments, mineral fertilizers and inter cropping) which is environmentally friendly. After her Ph.D., Mrs. Retta would like to continue conducting advanced integrated soil fertility management experiences which can help boost the agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.
Ms. Siham Baha Eddine, University Ibn Tofail, Kenitra, Morocco is working towards her Ph.D. in phytopathology. Her dissertation is untitled “Best Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium Fertilizer Management to Control Wheat Crown Rot Caused by Fusarium culmorum.The objective is to assess the effect of various sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers on wheat crown rot disease in Morocco and to select the best combination of fertilizers for improving the control of the disease and reducing the negative effects on the grain yield of wheat. Miss. Baha Eddine plans to work as researcher in the field of phytopathology by looking for the solutions to control the main crop diseases in arid and sem-arid areas.
Mr. Athuman Mahinda is a research scientist working with Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute-Makutupora centre, and the University of Dar es Salaam. He is currently a final year Ph.D. fellow in Soil Science at Kyoto University, Japan. The title of his dissertation is “Influence of In-situ Rain Water Harvesting Techniques and Nutrients Management for Sorghum Production in the Semi-Arid Areas of Tanzania.” His research focuses on finding the best combination of in-situ rainwater harvesting technique, nutrients sources and their levels for optimal sorghum production in the arid and semi-arid areas of Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Mahinda’s career goal is to become a global competent research scientist in the field of agronomy and soil science.
Ms. Ruth Atchoglo, High School of Agronomy, University of Lomé, Togo is working towards her professional Master’s in agro bio engineering. Her dissertation is untitled “Determination of the Economically Optimum Rates of Nitrogen, Farmyard manure and their combination under Maize production on Ferralsols.” The objective is to test various application rates of nitrogen and Farmyard manure for maize in order to determine the economically optimum rates. Miss. Atchoglo plans to prepare a Ph.D. on the assessment of the best fertilization strategies of maize in various soil types in Togo
Mr. A.K.M. Mahbub Ur Rahman, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh is working towards his Ph.D. in plant Biofortification. His dissertation title is “Agronomic Options to Iron, Zinc and Selenium Biofortification of Lentil.” His research is designed to achieve a biofortification strategy in lentil staring a baseline survey at farmers’ fields in Bangladesh and series of experiments planned to unravel genotypic and environmental effects on Zn, Fe and Se concentration in lentil seed and to evaluating them through foliar fertilization as well. He would like to play a key role in agricultural science to make nutritious foods more accessible to common people in developing countries, particularly in Bangladesh. His career goals are to continue with farmer need oriented research work to help the rural community for increasing their living standards.
Mr. Chen Zhaoming, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Nanjing, China is working towards his Ph.D. in plant nutrition. His dissertation title is “Effects of Nitrogen Placement on Wheat Yield and Fate of Urea-15N in the Wheat-soil System in the Middle and Lower Yangtze River Basin.” Mr. Chens’s research focuses on nitrogen (N) management for winter wheat and the fate of N fertilizer in the wheat-soil system. After his Ph.D., he hopes to become to an agricultural scientist and continue research to improve plant nutrition use efficiency.
Ms. Fang Xianzhi, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China is earning her Master’s in plant nutrition. The title of her thesis is “Nitrate Transporter NRT1.1 Regulates Resistance of Abiotic Stresses in Plant.” The findings from her research may provide a new strategy for improving the yields of crops grown in low pH soils using biotechnological pathways through elevating NRT1.1-mediated nitrate uptake. She would like to contribute her efforts to global plant nutrition development issues.
Mr. Liu Chuang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Moshan, Wuchang, Wuhan, China is working towards his Ph.D. in plant nutrition and agroecology. His dissertation title is “a Novel Way to Establish Fertilization Recommendations Based on Agronomic Efficiency and a Sustainable Yield Index for Rice Crops.” His research is focused on addressing the urgent need of a simpler approach for establishing fertilizer recommendations for major crops to improve the application efficiency of commercial fertilizers in China. Mr. Liu’s career goal is to become an agricultural researcher and technology promoter in the university or research institute sector.
Mr. Liu Xiaowei, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China is completing his Ph.D. in plant nutrition. The title of his dissertation is “Effect of Nitrogen Fertilization Pattern on Rice Yield, Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Fertilizer Nitrogen Fate in the Yangtze River Basin, China.” Mr. Liu’s research is focused on how to enhance nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency and control nitrogen losses. After completing his Ph.D., he plans to pursue post-doctoral research abroad.
Mr. Muhammad Shoaib Rana, College of Resource and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei, China is earning his Ph.D. in plant nutrition. His dissertation title is “Effects of Long Term Molybdenum Application on Soil Phosphorus Transformation Characteristics and Bioavailability base on Microorganism and Plant Interaction.” One of his research objectives is to explore the effects of long term molybdenum regulated-root exudate components on the soil phosphorus transformation. Mr. Rana would like to continue post-doctoral research in the same field and work as a research scientist.
Ms. Mahasweta Chakraborty, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, West Bengal, India is working towards her Ph.D. in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry. Her dissertation title is “Zinc Profiling and its Biofortification of Crops for Improving Bioavailability.” One of the objectives of her research is to improve loading and bioavailability of zinc in grains of cereals through scheduling of its application. After completing her Ph.D., Ms. Chakraborty wants to pursue post-doctoral research and continue research in the areas of enhancing nutrient use efficiency and biofortification for producing nutrient-enriched crops through the adoption of 4R practices.
Ms. Jemila Chellappa, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Tamil Nadu, India is completing her Ph.D. in soil science. Her dissertation title is “Integrated Zinc Nutrient Management on Growth, Yield, and Grain Zinc Enrichment of Pearlmillet in Calcareous Soils.” The focus of her research is to enrich grain zinc density (biofortification) of pearlmillet as an outset to alleviate zinc deficiency in zinc deficient soils (calcareous soils). She hopes to server the farmer community as an agricultural graduate in the field of science by continuing her research efforts in soil science.
Mr. Suresh Kumar Kakraliya, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India is earning his Ph.D. in agronomy. He is doing his Ph.D. research work under CIMMYT-CCAFS program at Participatory Strategic Research and Learning Platform, Karnal. His dissertation is titled “Participatory Assessment of Portfolios of Climate Smart Agricultural Practices for Adapting Rice-wheat Cropping System to Climate Variability in Climate Smart Villages of Haryana.” The objective is to assess the relative importance of climate smart agriculture practices under different management scenarios for productivity and profitability. His career goals include establishing a career in agricultural research with strong fundamentals in agronomy and soil science and contribute to help the farming community in increasing their living standards.
Mr. Adenipekun Gabriel Shitu, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India is completing his Ph.D. in agricultural extension. His dissertation is titled “Assessment of Precision Conservation Agricultural Practices and their Perceived Impact on Climate Smart Agriculture in Indo-Gangetic Plain.” Mr. Shitu’s research focus is to assess the socio-economic and psychological issues related to the uptake of Precision Conservation Agricultural Practices by the farmers and their perception towards climate-smart agriculture in the IGP. His future career goals are to work in agricultural extension in support of smallholder farms in Africa.
Mr. Nandkishore Sudhakar Thombare is earning his Ph.D. in Science from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India. The title of his dissertation is “Synthesis and Evaluation of Cross-Linked Guar Gum Hydrogels for Environmental and Agricultural Applications” with prime objective to develop novel, super absorbent bio-hydrogels from guar gum and their evaluation for controlled plant nutrient release and soil moisture retention. This research is focused on addressing the concern of low nutrient use efficiency and severe water deficit, where efforts are being made to incorporate nutrients (e.g., phosphorus and boron) in the high water holding bio-hydrogel for slow release. After his Ph.D., Mr. Thombare would like to continue with application based research for the benefit of agriculture and farming community.
Ms. Veena Kumari Tudu, Birsa Agricultural University, Kanke, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India is working towards her Ph.D. Her dissertation title is “Genetics of Drought Tolerance in Maize under Different Potassium Levels.” The objective of her research is to study the morpho-physiological traits under different potassium levels in maize. One of Ms. Tudu’s future goals is to identify a maize hybrid which can perform under moisture stress condition and at adequate amounts of potassium with maximum efficiency.
Mr. Bandhu Raj Baral, Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal, is earning his Ph.D. in soil science. His dissertation title “Enhancing Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Rice under Rain-fed Conditions in Nepal.” One of his objectives of his research is to identify the knowledge gap between recommended fertilization practice and farmer’s practice and enhance the nitrogen use efficiency under the rain-fed rice based cropping system of mid-western Terai region of Nepal. Mr. Baral would like to continue a career in research and assist his country by developing and generating new technologies in crop and nutrient management sector.
Ms. Aqsa Nazeer, Pakistan Department of Agronomy, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan, Multan, Pakistan is working on her Master’s in agronomy. The title of her thesis is “Role of Potassium Nutrition in Oxidative Stress-induced Disruption of Source-sink Carbon Metabolism During Boll Shedding of Cotton Under Heat Stress.” The outcomes of her research will help to develop the recommendations for the use of potassium fertilizer in the arid and semi-arid regions of the cotton belt in Pakistan. After completing her Master’s, Ms. Nazeer would like to pursue a Ph.D. from an international institute to further explore the role of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production under the scenario of climate change.
Sri Lanka
Mr. R.A. Asanka Ratnnayaka, Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya Mirigama, Sri Lanka is working towards his Master’s in soil science. The title of his thesis is “Site-Specific Nutrient Management for Paddy Soils on the Basis of Potential Management Zones Delineated through Proximal Soil Sensing.” His research has been developed to investigate the applicability of proximal soil sensing to identify short-scale variability of Sri Lankan soils and delineate management zones for precision management of plant nutrients. Mr. Ratnnayaka’s career goal is to be a competitive research scientist in the fields of geometrics, plant nutrients and soil fertility.
Mr. Hayat Ullah, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand is working towards his Ph.D. in food and agriculture and Bioresources. His dissertation is titled “Evaluation of Different Nutrient Management Strategies for Rice Cultivation in the Context of Decreasing Water Availability." Mr. Ullah’s research was designed to evaluate different possible nutrient management strategies for rice under different water saving cultivation techniques. He focused on rice because it is a major staple food in Asia. One of his goals for the future is to meet an expanding demand for plant health management specialists to promote food security and food safety on a global scale.
Mr. Aleksey Guzenko Volgograd State Agrarian University, Volgograd, Russia, is earning his Master’s. The title of his research project is “Liquid Complex Fertilizer Use to Sunflower in Rodina Agrienterprise in Kikvidze District of Volgograd Oblast.” Mr. Guzenko has received many awards participating in competitions and conferences among students and young researchers, including competitions conducted annually by the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia. He plans to continue his education in research concerning plant protection and phytosanitary control.
Ms. Olga Silujanova, Vologda State Dairy Academy, Vologda, Russia is working towards her Ph.D. in agronomy and forestry. Her dissertation title is “Agroecological Efficiency of Biologically Modified Organic-Mineral Fertilizers in the Cultivation of Crops on Sod-Podzolic Light Loamy Soils.” She is the author and co-author of seven publications and the winner of Agricultural Ministry Competition of students, postgraduates and young scientists researches (2017). Ms. Silujanova plans to continue research activities in ecology and agrochemistry.
Ms. Raheela Rehman, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey is working towards her Ph.D. in plant nutrition. Her dissertation title is “Uptake, Transport and Seed Deposition of Zinc and Iodine in Wheat and Maize.” The major aim of her research is to optimize agronomic biofortification (e.g. fertilizer strategy) of wheat and maize with zinc and iodine. This is to help understand the agronomic and physiological factors affecting leaf absorption and seed deposition of zinc and iodine. Ms. Rehman aims to become a leading researcher in the field and contribute to the well-being of people suffering from micronutrient deficiencies in her country and around the world.
Mr. Joshua Nasielski, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada is working towards his Ph.D. agronomy and crop physiology. His dissertation title is “the Nitrogen Economy of Agro-ecosystems: Soil Moisture as Regulator of Maize Nitrogen demand.” The goal of his research is to improve our understanding of how plant available water and nitrogen (N) supply impact maize metabolism and yield forming processes, in order to improve N management practices in maize and refine N fertilizer decision support systems (DSS). Mr. Nasielski can see himself as a professor at a research university or a staff scientist in agribusiness.
United States
Mr. Leonardo Bastos, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States is working towards his Ph.D. in agronomy, soil fertility and precision agriculture. His dissertation title is “Integrating Fertilizer Field Strategies, Crop Canopy Sensors and Crop Models for Nitrogen Management in Irrigated Corn Systems.” His research will provide a framework to understand how different crop canopy sensors recommend variable-rate nitrogen and whether or not these sensors can be used interchangeably for nitrogen management in irrigated corn. Mr. Bastos’ future goals include completing his Ph.D. and becoming a forefront researcher in nitrogen management in either an industry or academia position.
United States
Mr. Joel Crowther, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States is completing his Master’s in agronomy. The title of his thesis is “Integrating Management Zones and Canopy Sensing to Improve Nitrogen Recommendation Algorithms.” The main goal of his research is to explore the feasibility of this integrated approach of combining management zones and sensor-based approaches for nitrogen use efficiency. Mr. Crowther’s future plans are to seek opportunities as a research agronomist focusing in precision agriculture and soil fertility.
United States
Mr. Josh Henry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States is working towards his Ph.D. in horticultural science and crop science. His dissertation is titled “Characterization of Tobacco Abiotic Disorders Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Analysis.” Mr. Henry’s dissertation research will be using UAV based remote sensing to characterize some of the major nutrient disorders in tobacco production. His future goals are to pursue a career in academia, with a primary interest in a research or extension appointment.
United States
Ms. Natalie Ricks, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States is working towards her Master’s in land and atmospheric science. Her thesis is titled “Improving Nitrogen Management and Water Quality with Cover Crops and Living Mulches for Corn Cropping Systems on Irrigated Coarse-Textured Soils in Minnesota.” One of the objectives of her research is evaluate winter rye cover crops as a management tool to reduce nitrate leaching early in the season when potential for loss is greatest. Ms. Ricks’ career goal is to become a regional extension educator specializing in water quality and nutrient management.
United States
Mr. Joseph (Jay) Weeks, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, United States is completing his Ph.D. in soil and environmental chemistry. The title of his dissertation is “Elements of Surprise: Investigations into the Fate and Transport of Historically Mismanaged Lead and Phosphorus to Better Protect Humans and the Environment.” One of his research goals is to better understand the chemical mechanisms that contribute to P fixation when fertilizers are applied in an effort to develop better products and practices that reduce the total amount of P needing to be employed without sacrificing crop health. After he completes his Ph.D., Mr. Weeks plans to pursue opportunities within international research programs such as the Rothamsted Research or the Fertilizer Technology Research Centre.
Ms. Chelsea Stroppiana, The University of Queensland - School of Agriculture and Food Science / Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Queensland, Australia is working towards her Ph.D. Her dissertation title is “Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in High Risk Environments.” The objective of her research is to identify and investigate the key soil factors limiting the improvement of nitrogen use efficiency within the sugarcane systems, and use the findings to update the current industry best management practice guidelines for nitrogen management. After her Ph.D. is complete she would like to coordinate agricultural development projects for a global organization with both social and scientific aspects, such the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
New Zealand
Ms. Amy Whitley, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand is working towards her Ph.D. in soil acidity and aluminum toxicity. Her dissertation title is “Soil pH and Aluminum Toxicity in New Zealand High and Hill Country Soils.” Ms. Whitley’s research aims to improve the understanding of soil pH and aluminum toxicity for New Zealand soils, in particular, determining which key factors, both soil and environmental, are key drivers of toxicity and therefore which areas/soil types may be more prone to toxicity. She is currently exploring opportunities within the agricultural industry that combines both her interests and strengths where she can apply the skills she learned from her time at Lincoln University.
Ms. Stefania Appelhans, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina is a Fellow of CONICET (Argentina) at the Experimental Station INTA Paraná (Entre Rios province), working towards her Ph.D. Her dissertation title is “Contribution of Organic Fractions to the Diagnosis of Phosphorus Fertility in Corn and Soybean.” The objective of her research is to determine the contribution of the labile organic phosphorus fractions to the diagnosis of phosphate fertilization in maize and soybean. Ms. Appelhans’ goals are to grow as a researcher in soil fertility, crop nutrition and sustainable management practices, teach at the University, integrate with a work team, and collaborate in the training of human resources.
Mr. Gerson Laerson Drescher, Federal University of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is working towards his Ph.D. in soil science. His dissertation is titled "Nitrogen Distribution in Soil Profile and Soil Sampling Depth to Calibrate the Direct Steam Distillation Method for Flooded Rice." The objective is to calibrate the DSD methodology for soils in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, to measure the availability of nitrogen (N) for flooded rice and other grasses. The study will contribute to a more efficient use of N as related to agronomic and environmental aspects. Mr. Drescher plans to work with research and extension in soil fertility and plant nutrition, with a goal to provide information for the adequate use of nutrients in agriculture.
Mr. Danilo Silva Almeida, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil, is working towards his Ph.D. in agriculture. His dissertation is titled "Soil Phosphorus Availability in Soybean-Ruzigrass Crop Rotation." The objective is to evaluate the effect of tropical grasses, most specially the Ruzigrass (Urochloa ruziziensi) on soil phosphorus(P) dynamics and P availability to subsequent crops. Namely, the group aims to unravel: (1) how grass cover crops affect the P dynamics, especially of those involving phytates, (2) the soil P pool distribution and availability, and (3) the P lability and desorption kinetics. Mr. Almeida plans to work in an established and accredited institution in sustainable agriculture.
Mr. Nicolás Ignacio Stahringer, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, has recently finished his Ph.D. in Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. His thesis is titled "Parameterization of Productivity and Nutritional Balance Models for Pinus and Eucalyptus in Corrientes – Argentina." The objective is to adapt models already utilized in Brazil to estimate the yield and nutritional requirements of forest systems and to recommend plant nutrition inputs based on nutrient budget and plant tissue analysis. Mr. Stahringer enjoys research and lecturing and has a goal to work in a prestigious university where he can develop towards helping the sustainability of cropping systems and forest systems. He intends to deliver very practical information to society as a feedback for his studies and profession.
Mr. Hugo González-Villalba, University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil, is working towards his Ph.D. in Soils and Plant Nutrition. His dissertation is titled "Agronomic Efficiency of Starter Fertilization in Maize Using a Mixture of Commercial Urea and Polymer Coating of Sulfur-Coated Urea.” The objective of his research is to evaluate the efficiency in the utilization of urea recovered with sulfur and polymers, applied at the start of maize development and not using nitrogen in top dressing (as compared to regular urea), using 15N-labelled fertilizer. Mr. González-Villalba plans to return to his home country (Paraguay) after completing his Ph.D. program in Brazil and become a university professor working in soil fertility and plant nutrition.
Prof. Oswaldo Ernst, College of Agronomy-Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay, Paysandú, Uruguay is working towards his Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Wheat Yield Gap in Uruguay: Loss of Soil Quality as a Determining Factor.” Mr. Ernst is studying the effect of the number of years of continuous cropping after a pasture phase on attainable wheat yield and yield gap components, including the effect of previous crop and nitrogen application rates. He is interested in the permanent challenges for agriculture and in training young researchers.

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