The National Potato Council's annual scholarship for a graduate student pursuing potato research has been doubled to $10,000, the organization recently announced.
The deadline for submitting applications is June 14, and the winner will be announced in August. NPC has awarded research scholarships since 1998.
"In order to get high-quality applicants, we decided we would use some of our fundraising projects to support the (scholarship)," said NPC spokesman Mark Szymanski.
The winner is chosen based on academic achievement, leadership abilities and the potential commercial value of the applicant's academic work. Application forms are available through a link to www.nationalpotatocouncil.org/. Applicants must submit an essay of no more than 200 words explaining how their goals and ambitions qualify them for the scholarship and would benefit the U.S. potato industry.
Sarah Braun, a 2006 winner, is now wrapping up a Ph.D., focusing on potato genetics. Braun, working in Shelley Jansky's laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has helped identify a source of common scab resistance from a wild potato species. She also helped identify the region of the genome where the resistance is located. Common scab is caused by a bacteria in soil and creates lesions in potatoes.
Of the lines her lab has tested, they've found some that have resistance to both scab and cold-induced sweetening—an increase in sugar levels in cold storage that causes potatoes to fry darker. The university is breeding to integrate the traits into common chip cultivars, which will be tested this summer.
SOURCE: John O’Connell, Capital Press