Technology, like pocket DNA sequencing and supercomputing, are making a huge impact for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Laura Boykin, a Computational Biologist at UWA and Senior TED Fellow, along with her team of 'Cassava Warriors' have been utilising technology to develop a cassava plant (which is an important food crop) that is resistant to viruses and whitefly.
They’ve already reported an 800x increase in the yield of the cassava plant – a positive result for smallholder farmers in East Africa where whiteflies had been devastating the local cassava crops! Laura’s team have helped African scientist increase their knowledge of genomics and high performance computing resulting in local communities taking charge of their agricultural development sector.
Boykin completed her PhD in biology at the University of New Mexico while working at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Australian Research Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at UWA. In 2017, Laura was appointed as a Senior TED Fellow – one of just 10 people worldwide.
Using genetic data to understand the whitefly’s evolution, Dr Boykin’s research has proven important genetic differences in various whitefly species. Boykin also works to equip African scientists with a greater knowledge of genomics and high-performance computing skills to tackle future insect outbreaks. Join us for a powerful talk from an academic with passion and creativity who has applied cutting edge technology to create a meaningful difference to the lives of people in East Africa.