Organizers

Organizing Committee (From left to right): Karuna Kafle, Sophia Arista, Sahil, Raysa Gevartosky, Iris Chow, Jeremy Logrono, Akash Datta, Devin Koester, Lucas Berger Munaro, Anup Dhakal. (Not pictured: Sheila Scheffel, and Talisa Oliveira Floriani Z Souza)
Akash Datta

Akash Datta

Akash is one of the co-chairs of the Corteva UIUC Plant Science Symposium 2024. Akash is a third year Ph.D. student in the Sacks Lab at the Department of Crop Sciences. The research interest of Akash is focusing on gene discovery and varietal development in dry-direct seeded rice for better germination and emergence through functional genomics and molecular plant breeding. Akash further intends to work more on plant functional genomics for crop improvement. Apart from research, Akash is involved in jiu-jitsu, hiking, mountain biking and exploring diverse food cuisines.

Raysa Gevartosky

Raysa Gevartosky

Raysa Gevartosky is one of the Co-Chairs for UIUC Corteva Plant Science Symposium 2024. Raysa is a third-year Ph.D. candidate on plant breeding working in Dr. Jessica Rutkoski’s lab. Her research focuses on developing a novel approach to accelerate wheat improvement. This innovative approach leverages high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) and observed grain yield to generate HTP-based imputed phenotypes. These imputed phenotypes will be used as an accessory training set to increase training set size for rapid cycle genomic selection. In her free time, Raysa finds joy in spending quality time with friends and loved ones, relaxing in yoga classes, and discovering new coffee shops.

Lucas Berger Munaro

Lucas Berger Munaro

Lucas Berger Munaro is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Rutkoski. He serves on the registration committee for UIUC’s 2024 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. Lucas is committed to accelerating the enhancement of 'total net merit' in wheat for increased sustainability and profitability in Midwest agriculture. His research focuses on developing multi-trait selection strategies using selection index theory within the genomic prediction context. Additionally, he evaluates traits from longitudinal aerial image data to enhance selection accuracy. Lucas has been actively involved in the Crop Sciences Graduate Student Organization, holding various leadership roles, including President, Networking Chair, and Webmaster. Upon graduation, Lucas intends to pursue a career as an applied scientist in plant breeding. Beyond research, he enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, birding, and grilling a typical Brazilian barbecue.

Devin Koester

Devin Koester

Devin Koester is the 2024 UIUC Corteva Plant Science Symposium secretary. He is a second year master’s student in the Riechers Lab, and a member of the University of Illinois weed science team. Devin has recently joined the Below Crop Physiology Lab this spring. Devin’s research is focused on utilizing herbicide synergy to overcome metabolic resistance in C4 dicot weeds. Additionally, he measures the effects of prolonged weed interference in progressive and traditional management systems for corn and soybeans. He utilizes greenhouse, lab, and field protocols to combat the problem of metabolic resistance and weed interference. After earning his degree, he intends to work in the industry, developing and testing new chemical mixes to improve crop efficiency. He also plans to manage a research site. In his free time, he owns and operates a small Charolais cattle operation in his hometown of Elizabeth, IL. He enjoys Chicago Bears football, Chicago Cubs baseball, Chicago Blackhawks hockey, and fitting in a round of golf with friends when he can.

Sheila Scheffel

Sheila Scheffel

Sheila Scheffel is a second-year Ph.D. student in the UIUC Small Grains Improvement group under Dr. Juan Arbelaez. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic architecture of heat stress in small grains and developing breeding strategies to improve heat tolerance and help ameliorate the effects of global warming. Sheila loves being outside, brewing and appreciating good beer, going out, reading, and most of all, enjoying family, friends and her beastly dog, Betty.

Karuna Kafle

Karuna Kafle

Karuna is one of the communication chair for this year's Plant Science Symposium. Karuna is a master's student in the Department of Crop Sciences and is working on developing sustainable pest management system for plum curculio in peaches. She fascinated by insect behavior, plant insect interactions, and integrated pest management. After master’s degree she plans to pursue PhD in Entomology to broaden her research interest. She is a fun-loving person who enjoys dancing, cycling, playing badminton, meeting new people, and never misses a chance to spend quality time with her family.

Iris Chow

Iris Chow

Iris Chow is one of the program coordinator for 2024 UIUC Corteva Plant Sciences Symposium. She is a third-year Master’s student in Bioinformatics at the crop sciences department under Professor Nicolas Martin. Iris’s research is about analysing corn yield data using machine learning and environtyping tools. She is excited for her graduation in December 2024 and she is planning to work in the industry as an analyst for agricultural companies. In her free time, she likes to dance, skate, and play the piano.

Sahil

Sahil

Sahil is a first-year master's student in Dr. Babadoost's lab, specializing in plant pathology. He earned his bachelor's degree with honors in agricultural sciences from Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University. Currently, Sahil’s research focuses on the evaluation of the effectiveness of potential fungicides to control the growth of Phytophthora capsici in the laboratory and pumpkin field. Apart from research, he love to interact with new people and playing volleyball.

Talissa Oliveira Floriani Z Souza

Talissa Oliveira Floriani Z Souza

Talissa is in the catering committee for the UIUC Corteva Plant Science Symposium 2024. She is an agronomist with a master's in Genetics and Plant Breeding from the University of São Paulo, "Luiz de Queiroz" College of Agriculture. Currently, Talissa is a first year Ph.D. Student and Graduate Research Assistant at The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Department of Crop Sciences. Her work is related to genetics and plant breeding, emphasizing statistical genetics analysis in sorghum where she is currently developing a machine learning approach for unveiling rare variants and enhancing genotype-phenotype associations.

Sophia Arista

Sophia Arista

Sophia Arista is a first-year M.S. student in the UIUC Small Grains group under Jessica Rutkoski. Her research focuses on monitoring winter dormancy release in Midwest-adapted winter wheat and developing UAV-based methods to improve the understanding of early season growth dynamics and enhance the selection process for resilient winter wheat varieties. In her free time, she enjoys reading, rewatching her favorite TV shows, driving, talking about her dog and dancing.

Jeremy Logrono

Jeremy Logrono

Jeremy Logrono is one of the Financial Chairs for the UIUC Corteva Plant Science Symposium 2024. He is a third-year Ph.D. candidate focusing on plant breeding at the University of Illinois, working under the direction of Dr. Jessica Rutkoski. His research focuses on developing new locally adapted, value-added wheat varieties using novel speed breeding and genomic selection strategies. Jeremy aspires to become a plant breeder and work in the private sector. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, hiking, Muay Thai, camping, and exploring different ethnic cuisines.

Anup Dhakal

Anup Dhakal

Anup is one of the communication chair for this year's Plant Science Symposium.He is also the webmaster of this year's Plant Science Symposium. He is a graduate student in the Small Grains Lab under the supervision of Dr. Juan Arbelaez at the Department of Crop Sciences. His research focuses on improving oats' nutritional value and milling quality through phenomics and genomics.