FIU-Fairchild Gradute Students Travel to India

Friday, January 27, 2012

In January 2012, Vanessa Sanchez and Klara Scharnagl, FIU-Fairchild students of Dr. Eric von Wettberg and Dr. Krish Jayachandran, visited the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India.  They were joined by three researchers from University of California Davis to assist with a National Science Foundation and Gates Foundation funded project aimed at reducing the need for artificial fertilizer through improving the use of natural nitrogen-fixing bacteria (called rhizobia) on chickpea. ICRISAT is a non-profit agricultural research center working for Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to design crops and farming practices that help to fight hunger and poverty around the world located near Hyderabad, in southern India. While there, Vanessa and Klara helped harvest chickpea, wash the roots, and count root nodules that house rhizobial bacteria for over 280 plant specimens. They learned a good deal about root nodulation and experimental design, but also had the opportunity to explore Hyderabad, to eat traditional Indian food, and to make many friends and connections. It was a thoroughly enriching experience and a fantastic way to begin the new year. Images from the trip: Right top: Vanessa Sanchez preparing samples in the field. Bottom:  Klara Scharnagl (left) and Vanessa Sanchez (right) performing laboratory research.