Jose C. Tovar: Plant Direct First Author

Jose C. Tovar, first author of “Heat stress changes mineral nutrient concentrations in Chenopodium quinoa seed”

Current Position: Research Scientist and USDA-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

Education: PhD in Molecular Biosciences from Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, Arkansas), MS in Plant Breeding and BS in Biology from the National Agrarian University (Lima, Peru)

Non-scientific Interests: reading, ping pong, video games

Brief bio: After graduating as a BS in Biology with a biotechnology specialization, I joined the International Potato Center. I worked on 2 large international projects. One project aimed to develop Bt sweet potatoes resistant to the African weevil, and the other developed the 3R Victoria potatoes, which are resistant to late blight. I then moved to Arkansas State University to pursue a PhD. I developed the technology of a thermally-tolerant pectin methylestrase to facilitate sugar beet pulp drying during beet sugar production. I then moved to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to study heat stress in quinoa, an increasing popular and highly nutritious seed crop. I found that heat causes quinoa to have very low seed yield, very low pollen viability, delayed maturity, and limited flower opening. Most recently I showed that heat also significantly changes the mineral composition of quinoa seed. I hope that through my work I can contribute to our understanding of how heat affects plants, and help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on crops.