Dr. Dorcus Gemenet has been appointed the Research Scientist on Molecular breeding and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Potato and Sweetpotato for the International Potato Center (CIP) and will be based in Lima, Peru. Gemenet is an active member of the SpeedBreeders and Genomics CoP and a member of the Genomic Tools for Sweetpotato Project (GT4SP).
Gemenet, a Kenyan national, holds a PhD in Applied Genetics and Plant Breeding from the University of Hohenheim, Germany; an M.Sc. in Agronomy (Plant Breeding Option) and a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Agricultural Education and Extension, both from Egerton University, Kenya. She has eight years of professional experience working with molecular markers as applied to abiotic stress tolerance.
Gemenet joined CIP in July 2015 as a quantitave geneticist, working on the GT4SP project, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by the North Carolina State University. Her work was to identify QTL that are linked to several traits of interest in sweetpotato. In October 2016, she was made associate scientist. Among other tasks, she has been supporting partners in the GT4SP project by providing germplasm, data, and software.
“I feel blessed to have got this promotion. My colleagues had seen my work all through and although I am sure they appreciated it, I was still surprised to get the position. The recruitment was very competitive,” Gemenet says. Gemenet says she is looking forward to taking up the position and living up to the high expectations that come with the job.
The next year will be full of exciting challenges, as Gemenet continues to focus on her current work, takes on added responsibilities and expands her portfolio to develop more work in potato and sweetpotato. “In the next one year, I would like to make it a culture to incorporate molecular breeding into CIP programs,” she says.
Gemenet seems to thrive on challenges, as her career path demonstrates. After spending some time breeding maize at what is now known as the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, she ventured into peal millet, a crop that she had never seen. Immediately after this, she got into sweetpotato. “All along, I have been moving to more genetically complex crops. I love the challenge, it has been stimulating,” she says.
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