Helping his father with farm work as a youth in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, taught Hussain Alwael the skills of hard work, patience, and kindness. It also inspired him to pursue a career in plant biotechnology.
“I grew up and worked on a farm since I was young, and I saw plant species vanish because of high drought and salinity in my area caused by global warming,” said Alwael. “I was amazed when I found out about the plant biotechnology field, as it was an inspirational solution to not only our issue at the farm, but to many people around the world — and I was amazed by the technologies that can be used to vastly enhance a plant species so they have the right set of genetic materials to be able to grow against environmental challenges.”
Today, Alwael is a CFANS graduate student in applied plant sciences, and the recipient of a Donald C. Rasmusson Graduate Education Fund Fellowship. His research focuses on developing efficient, genotype-flexible, and open-source plant transformation and genome editing resources via developmental regulator (DR)-enabled cell reprogramming in soybeans.
As the first person in his family to attend college and pursue a graduate degree, Alwael is enthusiastic about continuing his doctoral studies in the field and working in academia. “I just finished my first year of my master’s studies working on my project, and I hope to graduate by adding valuable information to the plant biotechnology and genetics fields,” he said, adding his gratitude to Donald and Carol Rasmusson for their support. “The fellowship allows me to buy the material I need for my research study and propels my research objectives.”