Dr. Debalina Saha enjoys conducting applied research and interacting with her students

Dr. Saha was hired as an Assistant Professor in July 2019 to help the ornamental (nursery, greenhouse, landscape) industry with weed control issues.

Dr. Debalina Saha is an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Horticulture.
Dr. Debalina Saha is an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Horticulture.

Dr. Debalina Saha received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Botany from the University of Calcutta in India. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Horticultural Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Florida. Her doctoral research was on developing weed control strategies for ornamental crop production by combining mulch and herbicides. We caught up with Dr. Saha and asked her a few questions.

Where did you work previously and what kind of work did you do?

After completing my M.S. degree, I worked as a subject matter expert in biology for STEM curriculums at an educational company in India. While working there, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in research which is why I went on to earn my Ph.D. I worked as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Chris Marble and graduate teaching assistant with Dr. Brian Pearson at the University of Florida, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center.

Which classes do you teach?

In the Department of Horticulture: I currently teach HRT 863: Environmental Plant Physiology, which is a graduate level course and is offered every odd year during the spring semester.

Describe your research or what you are currently working on.

Currently, I have several research projects going on. One of them is controlling liverwort in nursery and greenhouse production systems involving both non-chemical as well as chemical strategies. In this project non-chemical strategies involving organic mulching and strategic fertilizer placements in container production is being tested for liverwort control and how these treatments can affect vegetative as well as reproductive structures of liverwort. For chemical control, several herbicides and disinfectant chemicals will be tested for translocation and absorption rates on liverwort growth and reproduction.

Developing integrated weed management strategies for Christmas tree production is another current research project. This project will be conducted at three different Michigan Christmas tree farms where organic mulch in combination with different herbicides will be tested for weed control efficacy and their phytotoxic effects on different tree species in Christmas tree production system during their establishment phases.

What do you enjoy most about working at Michigan State?

I enjoy conducting applied research which allows me to directly help the industry. In addition, I enjoy teaching, motivating, and interacting with students.

Is there anything you’re hoping to do or accomplish in your time at MSU?

I hope to establish a strong applied research program and to support young generations to pursue a career in Horticulture through teaching and advising graduate students.

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