BATON ROUGE, La. – Two international scientists recently completed projects they’ve been working on in LSU AgCenter labs for the past three months as part of the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program.
The two participants in this year’s programs are Dorsaf Yahiaoui, a principal engineer in plant protection of fruit trees at the Technical Center of Citriculture in Tunisia, and Yen Pham, a researcher and lecturer at the Key Laboratory of Enzyme and Protein Technology, Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam National University.
Each scientist was paired with an LSU AgCenter scientist to work on a problem that will help in their work in their country, said Susan Karimiha, LSU AgCenter coordinator of the program. The Borlaug fellowship program is implemented through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service and promotes food security and economic growth through research, she said.
During the 12-week program, the participants worked on plant diseases and pesticide monitoring, Karimiha said.
Yahiaoui is interested in insect damage to the pear and apple industries in her northern Africa country, and Pham said her interests are in how pesticides and other chemicals used in agriculture can be monitored for safety.
Yahiaoui spent her time in the LSU AgCenter Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology with her mentor LSU AgCenter plant scientist Jong Ham.
Her research focused on the development of new methods for diagnosis and biological control of fire blight.
“Pham conducted her research in the Department of Agricultural Chemistry with her mentors Mark LeBlanc and Amy Hernandez,” Karimiha said. Pham’s research focused on analytical methods to determine pesticide residue.
Karimiha said the USDA partners with land-grant universities, government agencies and international research centers for the Borlaug Fellowship program.
Since 2011, LSU AgCenter International Programs has hosted 14 scholars from 11 countries under these programs, Karimiha said.
Research topics have included climate change, crop genetics, food preservation, animal health and improved animal reproductive technologies.
During their presentations to LSU AgCenter faculty about their experiences, both Yahiaoui and Pham described how useful the Borlaug Fellowship program has been to their work at home.
Pham said it’s important to see what other scientists are doing and how new ideas can be incorporated into her work.