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Channapatna S Prakash
president of the AgBioWorld Foundation, professor of agricultural and environmental sciences and plant molecular genetics at Tuskegee University, director of the Centre for Plant Biotechnology Research

Why did I take up science as a career, especially working with plants and farming? Growing up in a modest, middle-class family in India, there was much talk about science at home. My mother was a schoolteacher who taught biology, and she sowed the seeds of my initial interest in gardening and my fascination with nature. Books on nature sparked my interest in the local library, where I spent much time after school.

I spent my summer breaks away with farmers in rural India, as my grandfather was in agribusiness. This inspired me to study agriculture at college. I was mentored by a fascinating professor in plant breeding, G Shivashankar, which helped me gravitate towards crop improvement science.

I remember rushing to college early in the mornings during the senior year, just to walk around with him on the experimental farm, where he fondly shared his knowledge and love of plants. The Green Revolution of Indian agriculture was already on its way, and I recognised the role that new crop varieties played in this transformation.

See Channapatna Prakash‘s website.