Meet Joan Josephine C. Kimutai, winner of the “Best Talk” award at the JR Biotek-PCA Africa Ph.D. Scholars Mentoring Program Celebration. Joan is a team-oriented plant breeder with experience in classical and molecular methods of crop improvement. Her goal is to develop stress-tolerant crop varieties suitable for smallholder farmers in different agro-ecologies of Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa in general.
As a child, Joan dreamed about pursuing a career in medical science. When she grew up, Joan enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Degree program in Biotechnology at Kenyatta University. However, after learning about plants and their importance in food and medicine, she developed a strong interest in plant biotechnology and dedicated herself to the field. After years of training, Joan now holds a Master of Science degree in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology (The University of Nairobi) and is a Ph.D. fellow at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana and is pursuing Plant Breeding. She is currently a visiting student at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT, Kenya). At CIMMYT, she is conducting her Ph.D. research titled “Genetic Analysis of Striga (Striga hermonthica (Del)) Benth. Resistance in Maize”. The objective of the research is to contribute to increased maize genetic gains through the application of genomic approaches in the development of Striga-resistant varieties.
In addition to her studies, Joan previously worked at Agriscope Africa Limited. She has diverse experience with field and greenhouse experimental procedures, molecular techniques (including plant tissue culture procedures), and statistical, genetic, and molecular data analyses using various software and bioinformatics tools. Joan is a team player with excellent communication, managerial, and leadership skills. She is a dependable, extremely self-motivated, innovative, open-minded, and charismatic learner who is passionate about improving livelihoods through the development of climate-resilient, disease, and pest-tolerant crops for improved food security and nutrition. Joan is currently working on finishing her Ph.D. project and will be looking to join a breeding program or a postdoctoral research position soon. At this time, she is very passionate about learning more about GWAS, genomic selection, and genomic prediction tools, and gaining hands-on experience. If you are interested in Joan's work, please follow her on Twitter (@Joan458), LinkedIn (Joanne Kimutai), or contact her through email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Learn more about Joan by watching the interview above conducted by PCA members Dr. Kevin Cox, Dr. Terry Jackson, and Elena Lazarus. (Video edits by Terry Jackson).
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