Giron Wins NPC Scholarship

Published online: Sep 20, 2019 Articles
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The National Potato Council recently named Sofia Giron, a fourth-year doctoral student in plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as the recipient of its 2019-20 academic scholarship. The $10,000 award is provided annually to a graduate student with a strong interest in research that can directly benefit the potato industry.

Giron’s work focuses on improving aspects of silver scurf disease management. This fungal disease causes losses to the fresh and processing markets of the U.S. potato industry, primarily by creating symptoms that result in reduced quality, negatively impacting marketability and processing.

Giron’s research is working to improve the management practices and reduce their environmental impact of the disease by focusing on four goals:

  1. Development of an effective season-long fungicide program with both field and post-harvest recommendations;
  2. Identification of genomic regions associated with silver scurf resistance to introduce resistance into breeding programs;
  3. Determination of a new cost-effective tool to detect azoxystrobin fungicide resistance in the pathogen; and
  4. Advancement of a quick tool for silver scurf disease diagnosis and quantification for improved commercial management and experimentation.

Giron has taken on many leadership and research positions within the university and her community. In addition to serving as a research assistant, lab mentor and teaching fellow, she also volunteers in various organizations and has received numerous awards for her academic work.

After completing her doctoral program, Giron hopes to find a position at a university and become a professor.