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Principal Investigators

Renee Arias, Ph.D., Research Pathologist
United States Department of Agriculture - ARS, USA
Lead Scientist for project RNAi Silencing of Aflatoxin Synthesis

"Whether plant disease resistance is achieved by traditional breeding or molecular tools, the genetic diversity of the plant pathogens will determine the effectiveness of the method used. We are developing molecular tools to control aflatoxins in peanut and maize, staple food in many countries affected by aflatoxins. At the same time we are analyzing in those countries the genetic diversity of Aspergillus, the fungus that produces aflatoxins."

Rick Brandenburg, Ph.D., William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor
North Carolina State University, USA
Lead Scientist for project Southern Africa Peanut Value Chain Interventions

"Aflatoxin management is a challenge not only because of its presence throughout the value chain of peanut production, storage, processing, marketing and consumption, but because it affects every aspect of the community. It affects health, marketability of the crop, income, productivity, export potential and is impacted by each and every decision made from the time of planting the seed to consumption. It is a complex endeavor to manage aflatoxin in a sustainable and cost effective manner."

Boris Bravo-Ureta, Ph.D., Professor
University of Connecticut, USA
Lead Scientist for project Southern Africa Pre-harvest Value Chain Analysis

"While generating knowledge may be our primary task in these research projects, it is also critical that the interventions to be recommended will be useful and relevant to the farmers who will ultimately decide whether or not to implement the proposed techniques and practices."

C. Michael Deom, Ph.D., Professor
University of Georgia, USA
Lead Scientist for project Peanut Varietal Development

"What makes this all worthwhile for me is the farmers and consumers having access to varieties that work for them and having this whole problem of GRD put to rest. At the same time, we are increasing yields and quality in varieties that farmers and consumers like and readily accept. The end result increases food and financial security."

David Jordan, Ph.D., William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Crop Science and Extension Specialist
North Carolina State University, USA
Lead Scientist for project Ghana Peanut Value Chain Interventions

"People around the world take risks every day and when it comes to food they sometimes have little choice. Hopefully, through the efforts of the PMIL Value Chain project in Ghana, people will be exposed to less risk from aflatoxin resulting in greater health. This will help them pursue their dreams more easily and they will come closer to reaching their full potential."

Greg MacDonald, Ph.D., Professor of Agronomy and Weed Science
University of Florida, USA
Lead Scientist for project Haiti Peanut Value Chain Interventions

"The ready-to-use therapeutic food is shown to reverse the effects of malnourishment in a short amount of time. Which is one of the reasons we work in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere."

Nicholas Magnan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
University of Georgia, USA
Lead Scientist for project Interventions to Decrease Mycotoxin Risks

"We hope the results from our studies will help determine what types of incentives are required to attract smallholder farmers to adopt the interventions PMIL is evaluating, and in turn, reduce the level of mycotoxins in the groundnuts they produce and consume."

P. Kumar Mallikarjunan, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
Lead Scientist for project "Mycotoxin Detection Options"

"If we can establish standard aflatoxin testing and certification for the region, then we can work on increasing exports and improved trade opportunities."

Mark Manary, M.D., Professor and Medical Doctor
Washington University St. Louis, USA
Lead Scientist for project Malnutrition Interventions

"Feed the Future is delivering the power of the peanut through PMIL to pregnant women in Malawi, improving the lives of both the mother and the unborn child."

Peggy Ozias-Akins, Ph.D., Professor
University of Georgia, USA
Lead Scientist for project Peanut Genomics

"Our research has helped create varieties of peanuts that are resistant to fungal contamination and that produce fewer allergens."

Jia-Sheng Wang, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head
University of Georgia, USA
Lead Scientist for project Mycotoxin Detection in Dried Blood

"DBS allows us take measurements of aflatoxin biomarker levels in a safe, accurate, and efficient way, so we are able to identify global regions with dangerous human aflatoxicosis levels and call for needed interventions by governments and other entities."

Haibo Yao, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor
Mississippi State University, USA
Lead Scientist for project AflaGoggles for Aflatoxin Detection

"We want to create a rapid, low-cost method that may be used in developing countries as a means for aflatoxin detection."