Hoa Hoang was a PhD student in Agricultural Economics with Dr. Willie Meyers at Missouri. She received a 2012 award to travel to Bangkok and Jakarta to meet with officials and academics as part of her research to understand Impacts of ASEAN trade liberalization. Hoa has an appointment as a Sumer Intern at IRRI with the Global Rice Modeling project being led by Dr. Sam Mohanty.
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Asia Rice Foundation USA, Inc.
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JoAnn Kirschis a Master’s degree student in Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota. JoAnn received a 2012 ARFUSA award to support her work as a Summer Intern at IRRI. After applying to IRRI and confirming her appoint with Dr. Nollie Cruz, JoAnn joined the IRRI project investigating False Smut, a disease which is gaining importance in several Asian countries.
Carolyn Lowry is a PhD student of Dan Brainard at Michigan State. She received a 2012 award to travel to Karnal, India to work with Dr. Virender Kumar at the Karnal Research Platform of the Cereal Systems Initiative funded by USAID and the Gates Foundation. Carolyn will work with IRRI and Indian scientists to design an experiment evaluating the potential for slow release N fertilizers to improve N use efficiency and weed management in reduced tillage rice-wheat cropping systems. Carolyn will return to Karnal in 2013 to conduct the experiment.
Emilie Kirk is a Master's degree student in the Agroecosystems Lab at UC Davis. She received a 2012 award for her research in Laos to increase our understanding of smallholder farmer’s experience with on-farm research and extension as part of the final phases of an ACIAR-funded 4-year project developing improved farming and marketing systems in rain-fed regions of southern Lao PDR working with Dr. Len Wade, ACIAR project scientist. 
Ben Fish is a Cornell undergrad. Ben received a 2012 award to help him travel to Thailand and participate in developing a supply management and marketing plan for a community of rice growers in Sakon Nakhon province of Thailand in collaboration with a Master's degree student from King Mongkut's U. of Technology Thonburi.
ARFUSA Grantees from previous years
Phancita Vejchasarn is a Thai national, is PhD student at Penn State working with Jonathan Lynch to understand the genetic control of root hair traits in rice with the goal of understanding the genetic control of phosphorus use efficiency in rice. The award will partially support research with the expected outcome of identifying: (1) molecular markers associated with genes controlling root hair length and density, which can be used for marker assisted selection by breeders; and (2) sources of adapted germplasm with good root hair traits to use for breeding programs.
Cameron Pittelkow is a PhD student in Horticulture and Agronomy at UC Davis working with Chris van Kessel. Cameron is evaluating nutrient dynamics in alternative rice establishment systems with the aim of developing improved N management strategies for flooded systems to help devise systems for reducing N2O, CO2 and CH4 (Green House Gas emissions. His award supported his travel to IRRI where he employed a closed chamber system for estimating methane emissions from rice fields.
2018 Travel and Study Award Winners

Ms. Reeger, a University Graduate Fellow, a Graham Endowed Fellow, and Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar, is finishing her first year with Kathleen Brown and Jonathan Lynch in the Roots Lab, studying anatomical traits of rice roots and their genetic controls. Jenna is determining the influence of increased percent aerenchyma area and other root anatomical traits on drought tolerance in rice in greenhouse and field trials and comparing anatomical trait development and influence under drought stress between greenhouse-grown and field-grown rice.  

Attending IRRI’s 2015 Rice: Research to Production Course 10-28 August, she learned the fundamentals of rice production and the key research concepts and methods employed in IRRI’s programs for rice improvement. She will be able to make use of that knowledge in her own research. 

She plans to return to IRRI to conduct detailed drought trials with Dr. Amelia Henry, IRRI’s drought physiologist.
The 2018 winners of ARFUSA’s Travel and Study Award Program are: Yasmine Farhat, a 2nd year PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Lina Bernaola, a final year PhD student in the Entomology Department at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, and Liberty Galvin, U California, Davis.
Mr. Kumar is doing his PhD studies in the department of Crop, Soil, & Environmental Sciences (CSES) at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville with Dr. Andy Pereira as his major advisor. His project, Development and Characterization of Rice Genotypes for Water-Use Efficiency and Drought Resistance, is a collaborative research between University of Arkansas and IRRI. His aim is to screen the USDA rice mini-core collection for water use efficiency and drought resistance related parameters, generate and evaluate the populations (F2, BC1, etc.) from high-yielding, but drought-sensitive and drought-tolerant genotypes, and map QTLs for grain yield and drought-related parameters.  

His trip to IRRI will include participation in the International Molecular Breeding Course (28 Sept.-9 Oct.) and a continued stay at the Institute through Dec. 2015 to conduct some research training including work with Dr. Arvind Kumar, leader of IRRI’s rainfed lowland South Asia plant breeding group, for phenotyping of an F2 population (indica x glaberrima) and some other advanced lines. He will also learn other advance technologies to impose drought in the field.
Brad Tonnessen is a Ph.D. student in Plant Pathology at Colorado State University. He received a 2013 ARFUSA award to work at IRRI for 2.5 months on developing an alternate method to focusing on R genes for disease resistance in rice. His approach involved upgrading the responsiveness of co-regulated DR genes, so total efficiency of the plant defense response is optimized. His goal is to determine how arrangements of DR gene cis-elements known in rice compare among resistant and susceptible varieties and use this information to predict which cis-element sequences improve DR gene action. While at IRRI, he also interacted and discussed with IRRI scientists who are involved in genetic diversity assessment, gene/allele discovery, functional genomics, and rice breeding.
Alice Beban is a PhD candidate in the Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University. She received a 2013 ARFUSA award to travel to Cambodia to work on understanding the roles land reform plays in livelihood strategies and household power relations of Cambodian rice farmers. She suggests households with sufficient resources will increase investment in rice production and cash crops, while households with high debt and low labor resources will lease or sell the land. Her research in Cambodia during the January-May 2014 involved in-depth interviews and participant observation and community discussions and workshop in Phnom Penh.
Ms. Ana Bossa Castro, a native of Colombia, who won a 2014 award, is a third-year PhD student at Colorado State University (CSU). Her research project, Defeating Bacterial Diseases of Rice: Novel Resistance Sources for Rice Crops in Africa and Latin America, is a collaborative project among CSU, IRRI, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. At IRRI, she is currently participating in the Institute’s 2015 3-week international course, Rice: Research to Production. The course is providing her with a unique opportunity to learn from experts about the latest rice research, as well as the most efficient production techniques. She is also meeting with Hei Leung and Nollie Vera Cruz, IRRI scientists collaborating with her to update them about her bacterial disease research and to discuss future experiments. 
Ms. Haley Sater, a Minnesota native, who won a 2014 award, is working on her master’s degree at the University of Arkansas. Her research involves obtaining better abiotic stress tolerance in rice. These stresses, especially drought and salinity, limit rice production all over the world. Her time at IRRI earlier in 2015 involved a 3-month research project with breeders there to help close the information gap regarding dual drought and salinity tolerance in rice. She helped develop a method for phenotypic evaluation of the two stresses. This preliminary study provided a foundation for future research into the mechanism for dual stress resistance. It may also be used to help breeders determine which lines might be useful to incorporate into crosses to achieve hardier plant types for growing in drought- and salinity-afflicted areas.
Anne-Marie Mitchell was supported to study international agriculture and rural development in the West African nation of Benin. As a volunteer, she served as the Rice Programs Manager for the 2015 Food Security Committee. The aim of her project is to reinforce best management practices and to advance simple technologies through the discovery of the most effective tools for weeding rice fields. 
Through farmer experimentation, she hopes to determine the most suitable weeding instruments for the southeastern region of the country. With the assistance of the Union of Rice Farmers of the Oueme Plateau (URIZOP), the and otherr farmer groups 20 rice farmers from around the Oueme Department will be chosen to experiment with three different weeding methods: by hand or with a hand tool, with a cono-­‐weeder, and using a locally-­‐made, ecologically-­‐adapted weeder. This equipment is being financed by the ARFUSA grant. 
Before the start of the growing season in October, farmers will be chosen by CCR-­‐B and trained on best management principles and surveyed on their perception of rice practices and the overall experiment. As a part of the experiment, farmers will be asked to use 9-­‐12 rice plots, using 3-­‐4 plots per weeding method. Post-­‐surveys will be conducted at the end of the season (April-May 2016) to evaluate the advantages or disadvantages of each weeding method.
Mr. Sharifi, a native of Afghanistan, is aiming to develop a predictive tool in order to support improvements in rice breeding, production, quality, and management. To this end, he is evaluating the effects of environmental factors (such as temperature, photoperiod sensitivity, and field management practices, including irrigation practices such as the alternate wetting-drying system) on rice growth and development. 

As a prominent part of his research, he has tested the accuracy of Oryza2000 and CERES-Rice, widely used rice crop growth models, under these environmental variables. The accuracy of these models under varying environmental factors is essential to efficient rice crop management—and consequently yield and profitability—in the face of climate change. Not wasting any time, he has already arrived at IRRI to attend the 2015 Rice: Research to Production Course, which ARFUSA is funding for him. Particularly interested in crop modeling, he will also be conferring with Tao Li, IRRI’s crop modeler.
Save the Date!
IRRI Reunion -- Staff and families
ARFUSA Members Meeting
Davis, California
August 1-3, 2019
Bryant Fong: Recently completed his MS at Arkansas State University and is now working with the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education at ASU. His project goals/objectives are to: 1) quantify and illustrate fluxes in mid-south (USA) rice CO2, CH4, H20, and N20 using eddy covariance and closed chamber flux techniques; and 2) identify possible GHG emissions reduction using innovative irrigation techniques (alternate wetting and drying, and multiple inlet irrigation). His goal from this ARFUSA grant is to share this experience with rice producers and researchers back in the mid-south through collaborations with Drs. Wassmann and Alberto. He has support from Gregory Phillips, Professor of Plant Biotechnology and Dean Emeritus at ASU, and Arlene Adviento-Borbe, a USDA-ARS Research Agronomist, an Adjunct Professor at ASU, and a 9-year IRRI staffer. 

Chris (Topher) Addison: is a PhD student with Dr. Niranjan Baisakh at LSU working on the development of drought tolerant cultivars and the identification of genes that influence drought tolerance to be used for marker assisted selection. His ARFUSA funding enabled him to take the Rice Research to Production Course at IRRI.

He reports: "Initially, I assisted with plowing a field using a single blade plow pulled by a carabao. I also learned how to use a hydro tiller to level the planting area to ensure an even spread of irrigation water across the field. Unlike traditional rice planting in the United States, I was surprised to learn that it is common for farmers to hand transplant their entire fields because few farmers have access to transplanting machines. I also learned a great deal about the pests that growers battle in the Philippines. I learned of the golden apple snail infestations that plague the area and can cost farmers millions of dollars.Initially, I assisted with plowing a field using a single blade plow pulled by a carabao." 
Colby Reavis: Colby used his ARFUSA award to travel to Seoul, South Korea in February, 2017, where he worked with Dr. Youngryel Ryu and his research group at Seoul National University on the use of remote sensing to develop estimates of plant canopy parameters, especially evapotranspiration, in rice. While there he became familiar with their Breathing Earth System Simulator (BESS), which uses modeling and remote sensing data to provide estimates for evapotranspiration and other parameters. The model is designed to tie in processes between the leaf, canopy, and global scales at high spatial resolutions (up to 1 km2) over a long period of time (~15 years). Colby compared BESS evapotranspiration estimates to eddy covariance data collected from two Arkansas rice fields using different irrigation regimes (Alternate Wetting and Drying and Conventional Flooding). 
         Colby's report says:” Working with Dr. Ryu’s group was a great opportunity…I hope to continue studying rice and the effects it has in the global arena. I am incredibly thankful to Asia Rice USA for making this possible.”
Colby on a remote sensing tower in Korea

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Daniela Carrijo grew up "surrounded by a family of farmers in central Brazil." After completing her BS and MS there she is now pursuing her PhD at UC Davis. She is doing research examining how alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation management affects rice yields, rice root growth, root characteristics, arsenic uptake in grain, greenhouse gases and water use. Her 2017 award will enable her to go to IRRI and gain practical experience on rice as grown in the Asian tropics. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Linquist. 
ASM Faridul Islam will used his 2017 award at IRRI’s Grain Quality and Nutrition Lab and its Genetic Transformation Lab to advance his objectives of improving the grain quality and nutritional qualities of rice. At IRRI he will gain practical experience in phenotyping rice for various aspects of grain quality, zinc, iron, and antioxidant compounds. He will get training in the procedures of rice transformation including selecting and treating immature embryo, embryogenic callus culture, agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer, vector construction systems, and promoter selection. He anticipates improving his capacity to do gene editing successfully and efficiently. He is working with Dr. Michael Thomson at Texas A&M, and at IRRI with Dr. Nese Sreenivasulu and Dr. Inez Slamet.
Emily Kraus said this after completing her award-funded work in Cambodia:  One of the most important aspects of an opportunity such as this, is to learn and share in the culture of another country. In my short time I was able to learn a few phrases in Khmer, eat many strange and delicious foods, and learn a lot about the religion and beliefs of the Cambodian people. 

Emily spent February 2018 with a team of Cambodian and IRRI researchers helping to educate farmers and extension agents about Integrated Pest Management for rice. Emily reports the team interviewed individuals and held focus groups to understand the formal and informal arrangements that affect pest management of farmers in the community. 

Kraus’s major professor at LSU is Michael Stout and she has also collaborated with Blake Wilson. 
Rui Liu (Tabby) "Rui Liu (Tabby) is a third-year PhD student in the weed science program at Texas A&M. She has focused her studies on the genetic diversity of weedy rice, a serious weed that’s genetically and phenotypically similar to rice, in her Master's. Now she is working on the ecology and management of herbicide-resistant and other problematic weeds in Texas rice. She seeks to broaden her knowledge to other aspects of rice research and production including breeding, agronomy, and marketing at IRRI. She also is eager to understand productive international collaborations and learn how to be a member of a research community where people from many nations gather with the mission of improving rice production. Her supervisor at Texas A&M is Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan and she is also working with Dr. Endang M. Septiningsih.
Applications for next year's awards must be received by February 28, 2019
see Awards page
On his return, Chris said: "My trip was...an amazing experience that not only exposed me to many different aspects of rice production, but also reinforced my desire to pursue a career in international agriculture!"

Yasmine Farhat is a PhD student at U. of Washington. Her research addresses the effects of soil chemistry and plant growth conditions on rice nutritional quality. Her experiments include an analysis of how zinc (a micronutrient) and arsenic (a toxin) levels are influenced by irrigation practices and flooding in the Tonle Sap region of Cambodia. Her results will help clarify the downstream impacts of dam development on the Mekong river on the livelihoods of people living around the Tonle Sap lake.

The ARFUSA Travel and Study award will allow Ms. Farhart to extend her sample collection period in Cambodia and gather more data on changes in rice nutritional quality that occur during the rainy season. 

Ms. Farhart is a 2nd year PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA where she is working with Professors Rebecca Neumann and Soo-Hyung Kim. She  holds BSc degrees in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. 

Lina Bernaola is a PhD student at Louisiana State University. She is studying the effects of mycorrhizae (soil-dwelling fungi) on the interactions between rice and disease causing pests, including both insects and pathogenic bacterial species. Specifically, she is evaluating changes in rice gene expression that are linked to mycorrhizal colonization to test her hypothesis that colonization alters plant defense signaling and the expression of defense-related metabolites. She is also investigating the effects of mycorrhizae colonization on tolerance to root injuries. Her goals are to explore how relationships between mycorrhizae and their rice hosts might contribute to pest management programs.

The ARFUSA Travel and Study Award will support Ms. Bernola’s attendance at the 5th International Rice Congress, which will be held in Singapore in October 2018 and facilitate meetings with the Rice Research Center at MARDI in Penang, Malaysia. 

Ms. Bernaola is studying with Professor Michael Stout in the Entomology Department at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, where she also earned an MSc degree in Agronomy and Crop Science. She holds a BSc degree in Biological Sciences from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru.

Liberty Galvin is a PhD student in the Horticulture and Agronomy graduate group at University of California, Davis (UC Davis). She is conducting research to determined integrated management practices for reducing pervasiveness of weedy rice in California rice crops. Currently, she is studying the biology of five genetically distinct weedy rice biotypes to determined the range of conditions necessary for breaking dormancy, germination, and emergence of each biotype. The biophysical data will be used to manipulate hydrothermal time models as a tool for predicting weedy rice prevalence in real-time. In addition to these experiments, Galvin is working with local UC farm advisors on a field study to determine best spring and winter management practices for reducing weedy rice in the soil seedbank.

The ARFUSA Travel and Study award will support Galvin’s course fee for the 2018 International Rice Research Institute’s rice research to production short course in Los Baños, Philippines. While there Galvin hopes to learn more about gene flow between Oryza species and how this can be incorporated into her weed science research.

Galvin studies under Professor Kassim Al-Khatib in the Plant Sciences Department at UC Davis. She obtainer her MSc in International Agricultural Development in 2017 from UC Davis, and a BSc in Environmental Sciences with minors in both Soil Science and Agronomy from Oklahoma State University.