2018 Wernsman Seminar Offers Tropical Flavors

Dr. Alan Chambers of the University of Florida presented the 18th Annual Wernsman Seminar March 15-16, 2018. A tropical fruits geneticist and breeder at UF, Dr. Chambers creates novel cultivars through deep genomic/genetic insights and advanced molecular methods. The primary objective of his program is to increase value to growers and enhance the consumer experience by way of superior agronomic performance, enhanced sensory and nutritional quality, optimized sustainable production through genetic solutions and gaining science-based insights enabling future genetic gains. He’s also a knowledgeable and engaging speaker.

At the seminar, a departmental lunch was followed by faculty visits, then the large room filled with students, staff and faculty for Dr. Chamber’s well-received presentation, “Tropical Fruit: Where Quality Beats Yield,” which focused on two his current studies, mango and bananas. An extended question-and- answer session followed.

The next morning after a graduate student breakfast and discussion, Dr. Chambers presented “Trialing and Breeding New Tropical Fruits for Domestic Growers,” with a focus on strawberries (source of his PhD work) as well as vanilla. Then came more questions about his innovative studies from intrigued students and faculty.

A highlight of the Wernsman seminar for Dr. Chambers? “Getting to meet the people here, and talk to the students. [NC State students] are enthusiastic. It’s energizing!”

 – Kaki Carl