UACES Facebook Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative selects plant pathology graduate student
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Aug. 13, 2020

Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative selects plant pathology graduate student

By Robby Edwards, Director of Communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Fast facts

  • U of A grad student selected to participate in global crop loss program
  • Sharfadine is a grad assistant for Division of Agriculture researcher

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sherif Sharfadine, a University of Arkansas graduate student, has been selected to participate in the Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative.

Alejandro Rojas Lab
SELECTED — Graduate students Sherif Sharfadine and Maria Clara Faria Chaves examine seed inoculated with a pathogen. Sharfadine has been selected to work with the Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative. (UA System Division of Agriculture photo by Fred Miller)

Sharfadine is a plant pathology master’s degree student in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

The crop loss initiative is coordinated by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International, and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This is a critically important global project focusing on the impacts of pests on food production and availability,” said Ken Korth, head of the department of entomology and plant pathology. ”Sherif will have the opportunity to contribute and work with scientists from around the globe.”

Sharfadine works with Alejandro Rojas, assistant professor of plant pathology and a researcher with the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the U of A System Division of Agriculture.

Rojas focuses his research on the interaction of plant and root-associated microorganisms and their effects on plant growth and health.

With Rojas, Sharfadine is working on Rhizoctonia solani, a soilborne fungal pathogen that is the causal agent of sheath blight, a global disease in rice production systems. He is evaluating different options to manage it and other diseases by using chemical and biological treatments applied to seeds.

They hope to develop methods and metrics useful to the mission of the Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative, and become part of its network of collaborators.

“This is a great opportunity for us and especially for Sherif since his main interest is international agriculture,” said Rojas. “This opportunity will give him access to experts around the world working with a crop that is important locally, but also for many countries around the world.”

“I want to thank my advisor and mentor Dr. Alejandro Rojas,” said Sharfadine. “I give him all the credit for this opportunity. Without him, this would not be possible.”

Lost crops impact health, livelihoods and national economies, but data on the scale and causes of crop loss are limited. The Global Burden of Crop Loss Initiative is aimed at providing data-based outputs that will be communicable across sectors and geographies.

the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International is an international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organization geared toward improving people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch.


About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


Media Contact: Fred Miller
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
(479) 575-5647

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