Three young Indian agri scientists have received Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP) Research Fellowships in 2010 for improving rice and wheat breeding among the second set of 14 recipients (seven women and seven men) globally. This makes India the only country with four MBBISP scholars till date - Anuradha Bansal, Amandeep Sandhu, Luxmi Tomar and Bhanu Kalia (the only Indian scholar last year) – who have been selected for their breeding research in wheat.
The MBBISP 2010 recipients’ projects include enhancing resistance to aphids in wheat (Leonardo Crespo); breeding rice for cold tolerance in Brazil (Renate Julana Ahlert); and improving drought tolerance in wheat (Surya Shrestha).
Among the Indian winners, Anuradha Bansal holds a Masters in plant biotechnology from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) University; Amandeep Sandhu is pursuing her Ph.D. at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU); and Luxmi Tomar is pursuing her Ph.D. at CCS Haryana Agriculture University (HAU). Each winner has developed a next generation breeding research project in wheat - Anuradha and Amandeep aim to address plant resistance to leaf rust, and Luxmi’s molecular breeding is aimed towards developing grain protein and micronutrient. Anuradha, Amandeep and Luxmi will collaborate with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Mexico; University of Zurich, Switzerland; and University of California, Davis respectively.
The MBBISP 2010 fellowship recipients represent twelve nations - Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, UK and US. The MBBISP fellowship allows the winner to develop advanced breeding techniques, conduct at least one season of field work in a developing country and a full package of support, incl. a generous stipend, tuition and fees, research fees, health insurance, travel and funds for the collaborating institution and advising professor.
An independent panel of global judges chaired by Dr. Ed Runge, Director, MBBISP reviewed the applications. Dr. Runge is also a professor and Billie B. Turner Chair in Production Agronomy (Emeritus) within the Soil and Crop Sciences Department, Texas A&M University at College Station. Said Dr. Ed Runge, “It is exciting that the first two years of the program has had winners from 17 countries and universities represented on six continents. The panel of judges and I are confident the students are making a difference in breeding research behind two of the world’s most important crops.”
Applications for 2011 open November 1, 2010, until February 1, 2011. Students interested in applying to the program can find more details at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars.