NC State gets grant to study African crop disease

NC State University has received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study cassava mosaic disease, which limits production of a key African food crop. Dr. Linda Hanley-Bowdoin, a CALS professor of plant and microbial biology, will lead the five-year, $5 million project.

The grant is one of 17 new Partnerships in International Research and Education grants that NSF recently awarded. NC State’s study will establish a partnership with researchers in East Africa to examine how plant DNA viruses change over time.

Linda Hanley Bowdoin
Dr. Linda Hanley-Bowdoin

Hanley-Bowdoin specializes in plant DNA viruses, called geminiviruses, like the ones infecting the cassava plant. Cassava is a tuber grown in Africa that can thrive despite poor soil conditions and drought.

Hanley-Bowdoin is joined by co-principal investigator George Kennedy, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Entomology at NC State, and co-principal investigator Siobain Duffy, an assistant professor at Rutgers University.

NC State faculty members, including plant pathologist Dr. Ignazio Carbone, biochemist Dr. Jose Ascencio-Ibanez and education professor Dr. Timothy Goodale, will participate in the study, as will researchers from Auburn University, N.C. A&T State University, the International Livestock Research Institute Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute in Tanzania.

— Courtesy of NC State University News Services