Faculty Highlights - Dr. Leonor Leandro
Describe your journey to Iowa State University? My journey to ISU started in Lisbon, Portugal, where I grew up and obtained my undergraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences (we call it ‘Agronomical Engineering’). I then went to the University of Nottingham, in England, to study a Master’s degree in Environmental Science. By then I knew I wanted to pursue a research career in plant pathology, so I came to ISU to obtain my PhD degree. After working as a postodoc at North Carolina State University for two years, I returned to ISU for a faculty position, where I have been doing research on fungal diseases of soybean and teaching mycology since May 1, 2006.
Why did you choose a career in plant pathology? What I like most about plant pathology is that it is a multidisciplinary field, where you learn about microbes, plants, and the environment, as well as their interactions. I have always had a passion for fungi, and I find it very fulfilling to work with such fascinating organisms within the applied field of Agriculture. Plant pathology allows me to study fascinating details of the relationship between microbes and plants, without loosing sight of the ‘big picture’ of agricultural production.
What excites you about your job? I like to think that my research of fungal pathogens will have a practical application for soybean producers. I also really enjoy teaching students about fungi and the many different was these organisms are important in our lives.
What is your area of research and what impact does your research have? My research focuses on the biology and epidemiology of fungi that cause diseases on soybeans, with particular emphasis on soilborne pathogens. We try to improve our understanding of how these pathogens cause disease and what environmental conditions favor infection and symptom development. This information is used to develop disease management practices for soybean producers.
What do you enjoy most about living in/near Ames? People are really friendly and helpful, and there is a true sense of community that has always made me feel at home here. Ames has the advantages of a small city, like no traffic jams and irritable drivers, but there are lots of ways to get involved in sports, and cultural and recreational activities. I also love the multicultural and international diversity of the Ames community.
What do you do when you are not working? I like to do outdoors activities, like hiking, canoeing, and camping, and also like to stimulate my creative side by painting watercolors and taking dance lessons.
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