BSPB Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024, we are featuring two scientists who have told us why they love the career that they’re in.

Trisna Tungadi, Plant Virologist at Keele University

I am a plant scientist where I study how plant viruses influence the behaviour of aphids, which are insects that transmit viruses from one plant to another. Plant viruses causes significant yield and economic loss. Thus it is important to understand how we can reduce the spread of viral disease in the field.

It is fascinating to work with plants, insects, and viruses in the lab and in the field. Every day I am doing something different, it can be sampling plants in the field or giving lecture to students.

As a scientist, I think the greatest joy is the freedom pursue a scientific problem that you are curious about, sharing the knowledge to others, and forming collaborations with not just other scientists, but also with plant breeders, policy makers, agronomists, and many other people from all walks of life.

Trisna Tungadi

Panida Wadsworth, Plant Breeder at Elsoms Seeds

Since first studying the mechanisms of transpiration and translocation for GCSE Biology, I have been fascinated by plant science and have wanted to pursue it as a career. This spark of interest led me to studying MSci Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham where I specialised in the fundamental biology of plants.

During my final year, I was faced with a fork in the road: do I continue in academia and complete a PhD or start a career in breeding where I can directly help farmers and contribute to improving food security? In the end, it was obvious to me, I wanted to be hands-on and feel like I was making a real difference. So, here I am, almost 5 years in and seeing first-hand all the hard work and industry research put towards producing new varieties for farmers and end-users.

Breeding is a long process, whether it’s combinable crops or vegetables, but seeing a truck load of seed leave your warehouse – especially when you distinctly remember physically making the cross that produced that variety – is well worth it!

Panida Wadsworth, Plant Breeder at Elsoms Seeds

See more from Panida on Elsoms YouTube channel:

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