McGill Macdonald Campus Student Wins Canadian Plant Breeding Innovation Award

Published: 10 January 2024

For the fourth year in a row, a McGill Plant Science student has won one of three annual Canadian Plant Breeding Innovation (CPBI) Innovation scholarships, which recognize up-and-coming young plant breeders.

Congratulations to master's student Laura Esquivel Garcia, whose work on sequencing the genome of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum has been celebrated with this prestigious $3,500 award. This fungus, also known as white mold, is the cause of Sclerotinia stem rot, a widespread pathogen which affects crops across Canada and is the most economically significant canola disease in the country.

Laura's interest in agriculture stems from her upbringing in a small town in the countryside of Mexico, where her father farmed. This childhood experience sparked her passion for plants, leading her to pursue an undergraduate degree in the field. Her introduction to genetics occurred during a plant breeding course, where she became involved in a research project focused on developing frost-resistant sorghum varieties.

Currently working towards her MSc(AgEnvSc) in Professor Valerio Hoyos-Villegas' Pulse Breeding and Genetics Lab, Laura is studying the genetic diversity of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum with the Canadian Sclerotinia Initiative. Her goal is to help plant breeders by gathering valuable genomic information that they can incorporate into their efforts.

Past Macdonald Campus student winners include:

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