Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Maria Betsabe Mantilla-Perez

Maria Betsabe Mantilla-Perez, first author of Towards “smart canopy” sorghum: discovery of the genetic control of leaf angle across layers

Current Position: Principal Wheat Breeder at Bayer Crop Science, USA

Non-Scientific Interest: travelling, dancing, and outdoor activities.

Brief Bio: I am from Ecuador in South America. I got my BS in Biotechnology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito where I worked on in vitro regeneration and genetic transformation of a native fruit of the Andes, Solanum quitoense. After completing my BS, I worked in the food industry in Ecuador for about three years as R&D assistant and project manager for the development of new products. I decided to continue my education and I got a scholarship from the Government of Ecuador to pursue a MS degree in Plant Breeding at Iowa State University (ISU), where I worked with Dr. Maria Salas-Fernandez in the sorghum breeding program. After finishing my MS degree, Dr. Salas-Fernandez offered me an graduate research assistantship to work on my Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics at ISU, where I worked on high-throughput phenotyping (HTP), QTL mapping, genome wide association studies (GWAS), and RNA expression to better understand leaf angle variation across sorghum canopy layers. After graduation, I was hired by Bayer Crop Science as the North America Spring Wheat Breeder. In my current position, I focus on the development and deployment of improved spring wheat lines, capable of satisfying the needs of farmers and provide sustainable options for our environment. I have the pleasure of working with talented and diverse people that support the breeding efforts, bring innovation and the upmost technology to better inform our breeding and testing decisions. Additionally, I take every opportunity to give back to Ecuador by participating in seminars and classes at public/private universities, and by providing technical support to Ecuadorian farmers that grow and export vanilla and dragon fruit.