Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Cornell Connects Research with the Farmers

Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Dr. Mazourek brings organic plant breeding to N.Y. growers.

When Michael Mazourek, Ph.D. '08, was a child, he dreamed of becoming a farmer, a chef or an engineer. Little did he know he'd get a taste of all three professions at Cornell.

As the Calvin Noyes Keeney Assistant Professor of Plant Breeding, Mazourek spends some days planting crops for trials at the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station's research farms, others collaborating with chef Dan Barber on unusual breeds like the honeynut squash, and still others designing organic varieties to benefit New York state growers.

It was this work that earned Mazourek recognition by the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) this month as it marked the 150th anniversary of the land-grant university system with a series of profiles on young organic breeders, including Mazourek.

A native of Newfield, N.Y., Mazourek was inspired to better connect farmers with research when he came to Cornell as an assistant professor in 2009. "There were all of these cultivars developed at Cornell that had solutions to problems I had in my home garden for decades," he said. "I grew up one town over so I couldn't imagine why I had suffered for so long with powdery mildew when these folks had the cure."

Under his graduate adviser, Molly Jahn, Ph.D. '88, Mazourek worked on biochemical genetics of peppers, and quickly developed expertise in vegetable improvement and getting new products out to the local region.

"Professor Jahn was committed to bringing the products of her research to anyone who could benefit," Mazourek said. "I had a revelation about the importance of this work; I felt I had been training for it all my life."

This spark eventually led Mazourek to get involved with OSA through the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative, a collaboration among researchers from four universities, OSA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that brings scientists together with organic farmers.

"Here in New York, there's no 'big organic' like in California so it's all the more important to get farmers involved in breeding," he said. "My goal is to connect people with seeds that will work for them. In central New York, that means things like broccoli that doesn't bolt, peppers that resist Phytophthora and butternut squash you can store in the winter."

While funds for agricultural research are increasingly scarce, Mazourek has been able to access grant opportunities through the USDA and its Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative to help public plant cultivar developers meet these and other grower needs. With the funds, Mazourek deploys historic knowledge and new tools. Some projects - like helping the town of Irondequoit, N.Y., rediscover a melon breed lost to disease - involve combing through the dusty files of his predecessors. Others demand high-tech approaches like DNA sequencing and barcode readers in the field.

Regardless of approach, he sees this work as important not only for farmers but for the region as a whole. "Sustainable and organic systems contribute to the economy and well-being of our state and region. By definition [local food] has to be produced in our communities, and production in our communities means profits tend to stay in our communities and jobs grow locally," Mazourek said.
"It's one aspect of our economy that cannot be outsourced."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Proteins Seek, Attack, Destroy Tumor Cells in Bloodstream
Using white blood cells to ferry potent cancer-killing proteins through the bloodstream virtually eliminates metastatic prostate cancer in mice, Cornell researchers have confirmed.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Tumor-suppressing Gene Lends Insight to Cancer Treatment
Researchers have found that delicate replication process derails if a gene named PTEN has mutated or is absent.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Synthetic Immune Organ Produces Antibodies
Cornell engineers have created a functional, synthetic immune organ that produces antibodies and can be controlled in the lab, completely separate from a living organism.
Friday, June 12, 2015
On Planes, Savory Tomato Becomes Favored Flavor
Study shows the effect that airplane noise has on passengers' taste preferences.
Friday, May 15, 2015
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
'Shield' Gives Tricky Proteins a New Identity
Solubilization of Integral Membrane Proteins with high Levels of Expression.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
DNA Safeguard May Be Key In Cancer Treatment
Cornell researchers have developed a new technique to understand the actions of key proteins required for cancer cells to proliferate.
Monday, March 09, 2015
A ‘STAR’ is Born: Engineers Devise Genetic 'On' Switch
A new “on” switch to control gene expression has been developed by Cornell scientists.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Bacteria Be Gone!
New technology keeps bacteria from sticking to surfaces.
Monday, January 19, 2015
On the Environmental Trail of Food Pathogens
Learning where Listeria dwells can aid the search for other food pathogens.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Chemists Show That ALS is a Protein Aggregation Disease
Using a technique that illuminates subtle changes in individual proteins, chemistry researchers at Cornell have uncovered new insight into the underlying causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Computer Model Reveals Cancer's Energy Source
Findings focused on the energy-making process in cancer cells known as the Warburg Effect.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
A New Player in Lipid Metabolism Discovered
Specially engineered mice gained no weight, and normal counterparts became obese on the same high-fat, obesity-inducing Western diet.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Ingested Nanoparticles May Damage Liver
Although nanoparticles in food, sunscreen and other everyday products have many benefits, researchers from Cornell are finding that at certain doses, the particles might cause human organ damage.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Scientific News
Natural Protein Points to New Inflammation Treatment
Findings may offer insight to effective treatments for inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Genetic Cause of Rare Allergy
Institute has identified a genetic mutation responsible for a rare form of inherited hives induced by vibratory urticaria.
Battery Component Found to Harm Key Soil Microorganism
The material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones has been shown to impair a key soil bacterium, according to new research.
Keeping Tumor Growth at Bay
Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis found a way to keep a cancerous tumor from growing by using nanoparticles of the main ingredient in common antacid tablets.
Natural Protein Points to New Inflammation Treatment
Findings may offer insight to effective treatments for inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Mitochondria Shown to Trigger Cell Ageing
An international team of scientists has for the first time shown that mitochondria, the batteries of the cells, are essential for ageing.
Cancer Cells Kill Off Healthy Neighbours
Cancer cells create space to grow by killing off surrounding healthy cells, according to UK researchers working with fruit flies.
Validating the Accuracy of CRISPR-Cas9
IBS Researchers create multiplex Digenome-seq to find errors in CRISPR-Cas9 processes.
Cancer Drug Target Visualized at Atomic Resolution
New study using cryo-electron microscopy shows how potential drugs could inhibit cancer.
Genetic Mechanism Behind Cancer-Causing Mutations
Researchers at Indiana University has identified a genetic mechanism that is likely to drive mutations that can lead to cancer.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!