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Mishi Vachev

PhD Candidate

University of California, Davis

The Secret Life of Plants: An Insight Into the Food on Your Plate


Plants are extraordinary, complex organisms whose sessile nature has caused them to evolve unique survival tactics. Their inability to run away from predators or get up and move to a new environment when they face harsh conditions has gifted them with efficient mechanisms for drought tolerance, disease resistance, and even chemical warfare against invading plants and pests. The expansive diversity among plants can also be used to solve some of our society's biggest food and agriculture problems: feeding an ever-growing population, combating climate change, and making strawberries taste better.
Plant biologists aim to better understand the world around us, how it came to be, and where it is going. We are a diverse community of scientists with expertise in plant physiology, genetics, biochemistry, statistics, biophysics, and more. Surprisingly, very few of us can actually keep a houseplant alive.

Meet the Speaker:

Mishi Vachev is a Bay Area native with a degree in Molecular Biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is currently in the third year of her Plant Biology PhD program at the University of California, Davis where she researches disease resistance genetics in strawberry. Her inspiration to study plants came from spending summers in rural Bulgaria and assorted biology and biotechnology classes in high school. Her favorite fun plant facts are that all fruits are ovaries and that broccoli and brussel sprouts are the same species.

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