Pulse CRSP Ph.D. Student Recognized

Gerardine Mukeshimana, a doctoral student supported by the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP, was recently awarded the 2012 BIFAD Award for Scientific Excellence in a USAID CRSP.

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) has awarded Gerardine Mukeshimana, a doctoral student from Rwanda supported by the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP in the Department of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology at Michigan State University,  its 2012 Award for Scientific Excellence in a USAID Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP).


Gerardine Mukeshimana
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Mukeshimana is being recognized for her significant contributions to the breeding of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in her home country of Rwanda for both drought tolerance and disease resistance. Mukeshimana has not only identified the key components of bean genetic trait inheritance, including the genes that make up the drought tolerant mechanisms in common bean, but has also developed a fast and cost effective method for screening these components. This method can now be used by other scientists and will have broad application in other breeding programs. Mukeshimana is conducting her research under the direction of James Kelly, PI for the Pulse CRSP project "Combining Conventional, Molecular and Farmer Participatory Breeding Approaches to Improve Andean Beans for Resistance to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Ecuador and Rwanda" and professor of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University.

Beans are a major crop in Rwanda for food and nutrition security, sustainability, and income for smallholder farmers. A bean plant’s ability to tolerate drought and resist diseases plays a key role in ensuring significant production of this important crop in the developing world. Drought, due to insufficient and unpredictable rainfall patterns, has been one of the major constraints to expanding bean production in Rwanda.

Mukeshimana’s earlier research focused on breeding for Bean Common Mosaic Necrotic Virus resistance in common bean in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya.

Mukeshimana’s research has been conducted through the support of the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP (Collaborative Research Support Program) project, managed at Michigan State University for nearly 25 years (originally under the name Bean/Cowpea CRSP). A unique partnership between U.S. universities, developing country institutions, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Collaborative Research Support Programs (CRSPs) address issues of hunger and poverty through science and technology. The CRSPs are funded through support from USAID, U.S. Universities, and participating institutions. The CRSPs receive core funding from the Bureau for Food Security of USAID.

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) is a Presidentially-appointed advisory council to USAID concerning issues related to food and agriculture.


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