I’ll probably be a lifetime student. I’ve
always enjoyed learning, figuring out how and why things work the way they do.
That’s been a big driving force – my scientific research. I’ve been working on
a project where we’re looking at bio fertilizers, and this bio fertilizer
happens to be a fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with plants. What
we’re doing is we’re looking at understanding that relationship at the
molecular level. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer
needed to create the same or increased yield. Plants normally take up only ten
to twenty percent of the fertilizers that we supply and the fertilizers that
we supply they go into the aquifers and they go in the marine ecosystems and they
lead to a lot of environmental destruction and there’s another problem
that will become very very significant in the future. Phosphate fertilizers are
produced by phosphate rock. Non-renewable resource. And the current known reserves
will be depleted in 50 to 100 years. We know that plants are able and that these
fungi are able to provide a lot of phosphate but with the aquaculture
management practices, we basically reduce these kind of capabilities that these
plants naturally have. Working together has been a really good
experience. A lot of the theory starts with Heike. We talk about experiments
that we’d like to conduct and then I am able to go to the lab or the greenhouse
and put that stuff together, put those experiments together. It’s really a kind
of trust relationship, it’s really like symbiosis. Students that work with me and
I try to provide enough guidance but I also hope that my students become later
more and more independent and to become also confident at being scientists. What we’re working on right now has a potential to benefit the state and the
nation and the world. The opportunity at SDSU has just been incredible. There’s
open doors everywhere. If you’re driven, it’s things just open up. It’s been a
real fun ride so far. you