UWA computational biologist receives TED fellowship for 2015
A researcher at the University of Western Australia has been named as the only Australia-based TED Fellow for 2015. Dr Laura Boykin is a joint researcher at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and the University of Western Australia’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Dr Boykin works in the field of computational biology and genomics, skills that she is applying to address food security issues in sub-Saharan Africa. Cassava crops, a staple food source in Africa, are being devastated by whiteflies that feed on the crops and spread viruses. Dr Boykin is studying the genetics of whitefly species to understand their differences and help to control them.
Dr Boykin explained: "Whitefly is a pest which is found all around the world, affecting agriculture wherever they go. The techniques we're developing with African whiteflies can be applied with researchers and farmers all around the world."
She wants to help build capacity in genomics and super-computing in Sub-Saharan Africa, and empower African scientists with high performance computing skills to tackle the cassava and whitefly issue, as well as future insect outbreaks.
Dr Boykin has been named as one of 21 TED Fellows for 2015, joining an international community of around 300 innovative and "trail-blazing" TED Fellows from previous years. The TED Fellowship provides an excellent avenue through which Dr Boykin can raise awareness about food security issues in sub-Saharan Africa, she will present at TED2015 in March.
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