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Two Dimensions for Improving Plant Health: Characterization of Biotic Interactions Underlying Plant Immunity and a Nationwide Survey on Developing Future Leaders in the Plant Science Disciplines
Significant economic losses continue to impact agricultural production because of damages caused by biotic stressors such as insects and pathogens. Therefore, there is a need to propose innovative strategies to mitigate these attacks to maintain an adequate amount of food worldwide. In this study, there are two aspects of pest management investigated: the importance of the plant immune system in producing phytohormones to combat the attack of multiple stressors and implementation of a leadership development blueprint in order to improve the ability of future plant scientists to become leaders in tackling challenges in the global agricultural food production. Here, we revealed that the hormone crosstalk in maize signaling plays an important role in maize defense and there are opportunities to explore this mechanism further. Furthermore, this project characterized the hormone crosstalk under the attack of two economically important pests: the bacterial pathogen causing Goss’s bacterial wilt and leaf blight, and the chewing insect fall armyworm, and their impact in the maize hormone crosstalk. Plant hormone analysis suggested that hormonal crosstalk and plant genetic background are related to changes in pest performance in nature. A nationwide survey was conducted to evaluate leadership training among plant scientists. Results showed a gap in opportunities to develop leadership programs for graduate students. Important considerations were provided for American universities to prioritize graduate school experiences, professional skills, and improve graduate programs. Overall, the research presented here expands our understanding of both the basic and social sciences in plant science studies. The results obtained will help to increase the knowledge of molecular and biochemical mechanisms underpinning plant resistance to pest attacks, while providing the most productive setting for our future scientists in the agricultural plant sciences to handle the increasing demand for food globally.
Plant Pathology|Entomology|Science education
Ferreira da Silva, Karen, "Two Dimensions for Improving Plant Health: Characterization of Biotic Interactions Underlying Plant Immunity and a Nationwide Survey on Developing Future Leaders in the Plant Science Disciplines" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI27956086.