In 2019 the Small Grains Pathology Laboratory hosted Summer Interns From Five Continents

By: Ruth Dill-Macky

Ruth Dill-Macky with Students

The long summer days are full of activity in the Small Grains Pathology Laboratory led by Dr. Ruth Dill-Macky. This summer the Small Grains Pathology team established field experiments examining disease management practices and screening for host reaction to a number of diseases of wheat, barley, and oats. While the experiments are established to meet various research goals they also play a unique role for training students in plant pathology. In 2019 the Small Grains Pathology laboratory hosted five interns for 8-12 weeks over the summer - and they came from all over.
The 2019 interns included Carolina Francia, who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Uruguay, where she is being supervised by Dr. Silvia Pereyra (University of Minnesota alumnus and former Graduate student of Dr Dill-Macky); Montana Hickey, an undergraduate in Plant Science at the University of Queensland (Australia); Pia Vacano who is studying Crop Sciences at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna (Austria) and who was the most recent of many interns from BOKU who have been connected to the Small Grain Pathology group through Dr. Hermann Bürstmayr (Professor of Plant Breeding); Fernando Aguilar Ortega from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota who connected with the lab through the MnDRIVE/NorthStar STEM Alliance summer research and internship program; and Shadad Mugabi, a MAST (Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee) student from Uganda.
The interns were involved in a range of activities in the field experiments - inoculating and assessing diseases including Fusarium head blight and Bacterial leaf streak of wheat and barley and loose smut of oat, harvesting and processing the grain samples after harvest and entering the data once it had been collected. Most also had the opportunity to visit the off-campus field locations and participate in the summer field day at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston MN.
They worked hard but also had fun attending the 4th of July fireworks at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis and visiting the Bell Museum. Fernando presented the findings of his research on Bacterial leaf streak of wheat as a poster at the Summer Undergraduate Research Expo held at the McNamara Alumni Center in September.