2011 Innovative ETD Award
Ph.D. Plant Pathology
Kansas State University, U.S.A.
In her doctoral dissertation, Martha Giraldo examined the disease known as “blast,” which can infect crops such as wheat, rye, barley, pearl millet, and even turf grasses. Its greatest impact, however, is on rice, where it is estimated that each year blast destroys enough rice to feed more than 60 million people. Rice blast is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Martha’s research is clearly one that has global impact on agriculture and hunger.
Martha’s dissertation is unique in that she provides video files that allow the reader to view images of fluorescent proteins and the infection mechanisms. Given the global importance of rice blast, it is important these images be made available to researchers who may not have access to instruments and technology to otherwise view and understand the development of the disease. In addition to the in vivo videos, Martha also provides an 8 minute video of the techniques she used to inoculate rice plants and prepare the diseased tissue for imaging.
Martha is presently completing a post-doctorate fellowship at Kansas State University in the Department of Plant Pathology.