Robert Alvarez Quinto

Graduate Student
402 Stakman

1991 Upper Buford Circle
495 Borlaug Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Ben Lockhart
  • BSc Agriculture and Biology, Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Ecuador, 2011


Hometown: Daule, Guayas, Ecuador

What is plant pathology to you? 

Plant Pathology is a key component in the titanic task of feeding the world. Moreover, plant disease research outputs have the potential to positively change the life of farmers in the regions of the world where agriculture is a mode of subsistence.

Why did decide to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota? Tell us about your path to Plant Pathology.

I was granted a scholarship from the Ecuadorian Government (SENESCYT) which allows me to study at one of the best universities in the world. For that reason, I choose the University of Minnesota because of its tremendous research quality, but also because Professor Ben Lockhart and I have been working with Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN). MLN was recently reported by our team in Ecuador, and has caused serious losses that threaten local food security. There is a great opportunity to unravel the disease epidemiology, which is essential to providing adequate disease management strategies.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time at the University of Minnesota, and what are your goals for the future?

I hope to successfully identify novel epidemiological aspects of MLN, and also any further factors involving the disease; those are required to provide farmers with efficient crop management methods for MLN. I also expect to become proficient in several cutting-edge tools in plant virology, taking advantage of the huge UMN infrastructure and expertise of professors to carry out my research project.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love outdoor activities, and being in contact with nature from the sea to the mountains or even the jungle. Each of these types of environments has their enchants. Some of my favorite activities are hiking, biking and swimming. My favorite place in the world is the Galapagos Islands.

Areas of Interest

My research is focused on the epidemiology of Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLN) - one of the most devastating viral diseases reported in maize.