I am very excited to announce that, starting in mid April, I am going to transition to working as a researcher with Dr. Geoff Morris in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University (https://www.morrislab.org/). This work will focus on using bioinformatics, mathematical/computational modeling, and genomics to improve the breeding of climate change adapted varieties of Sorghum, which is an important staple crop in many parts of the world. I will be working with collaborators at national agricultural research institutes (NARI) in Africa, with a focus on Senegal in the beginning. From my perspective, the larger goal of these projects is to help redistribute the knowledge and resources in this area of biology that have been accrued in high-income countries in order to aid NARI in developing robust and sustainable breeding programs with control over their own agricultural future and food security. On top of all that, this will be an excellent opportunity to do research that explores basic questions in evolutionary genetics and plant adaptation.

I am excited about starting this work and using science to make some contribution, however small, toward human well-being in the ever-changing world in which we live. People in low-income countries have contributed the least to the climate crisis, and yet face the most severe impacts. Adaptation to ongoing global heating needs to happen now! Meanwhile, high-income countries like the US plow forward making vastly inadequate progress on solving the problems we have largely been responsible for. In my opinion, the climate crisis is the single most important issue we currently face, the defining challenge of our times. And, I’m glad to have the opportunity to work on some aspect of it.

Personally, I think the most important things we can do now are 1) get involved in activism to push our own politicians to make better efforts toward effective climate change mitigation and adaptation, 2) advocate for equity and climate justice in all policies that are implemented, and 3) make decisions in our own lives that make moves (however incremental) toward a more sustainable world. We can do this if we work together! Let’s put the well-being of people and the planet first!