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Hilary Cheesman Takes Preliminary Trip to Bolivia

Posted: August 22, 2013

INTAD student, Hilary Cheesman, traveled in April to Bolivia to begin research that will support the sustainability and productivity of Andean farmers.
At the PROINPA Quinoa Breeding Center in Bolivia

At the PROINPA Quinoa Breeding Center in Bolivia

Hilary Cheesman, Ph.D. candidate in Plant Pathology and INTAD, traveled in April 2013 to Bolivia to begin field research on improving crop production. Hilary began the ground work for her ongoing research on plant associated microbes that support the sustainability and productivity of Andean farmers.

Hilary experienced the amazing birth and first steps of a llama, learned about local plant production, and observed various farmer planting practices in the area where she will be working. Most importantly, she created the foundation for her field trials. She noticed wilted haba plants (fava beans) from drought and hopes to incorporate drought intolerance as an improvement using bacterial seed treatments into her future research. Getting her "hands dirty", she was able to conduct soil analysis and DNA extractions.

In Front of Lake Titicaca

According to Hilary, this experience was essential to her field trials and future experiments in Bolivia. The traditional practices are very specific to the location and she assures, "there are many things we lose sight of and can re-learn from the native farmers." Hilary explains, "Sharing ideas with developing nations is as important for them as it is for us." Hilary's visit in collaboration with the with PROINPA (Foundation for Promotion and Research of Andean Product) fosters this type of knowledge exchange and will facilitate her future research.