Teaching and Knowledge transfer
Visiting Scientists and Students
- Yasemin Ceylan (Turkey)
- Selin Meral (Turkey)
- Vilde Kaldhusdal (Norway)
- Alaa Al-Lahham (Israel)
- Mensah Kwabena Agyei (Ghana)
- Petar Jovanovic (Serbia)
- Prof. Dr. Ismail Cakmak (Turkey)
Prof. Dr. Ismail Cakmak
On 4 July 2014, Prof. Dr. Ismail Cakmak from Sabanci University, Istanbul, was awarded the renowned Georg Forster Research Award of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation. The ceremony took place in Berlin. From 6 January until 30 April 2014 , the award-winner stayed for his research at the IAPN as well as at the Department for Crop Sciences at the University of Göttingen. During his visit in Göttingen, Prof. Cakmak focused on the relevance of potassium and magnesium for partitioning of photo assimilates within plants, and their effects on plant shoot and root growth.
Born in 1959, Ismail Cakmak finished his doctorate in 1988, at Hohenheim University, and as a Humboldt-fellow went on as post-doctorate researcher in Hanover and Hohenheim, among other places. Since 2000, he has been Professor of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering at Sabanci University. Among other projects, he has also been involved in the highly recognized international HarvestPlus Program, which seeks to reduce hidden hunger and to provide micronutrients and trace elements to millions of people. Prof. Cakmak is responsible for a considerable share of the progress made in increasing grain zinc density, thereby contributing substantially to alleviating zinc deficiency in human nutrition.
In 1999 Prof. Cakmak was awarded the TÜBITAK Science Award, the most distinguished scientific accolade in Turkey. In 2005 he was awarded the International Fertilizer Industry Association Crop Nutrition Award, in recognition of his contributions to both human health and to crop production, and in 2007 he received the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering “Derek Tribe Award Medal”. This was followed by the Humanitarian Service Award granted by the Lions Club, in 2008. In September 2012 Prof. Cakmak was elected into the Academy of Europe.
Within the project “Growth for Uganda”, Christine Kyomugisha works as a “Program Officer Crop Productivity Enhancement”. She is employed by the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) – an NGO working to combat hunger and to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers. Christine Kyomugisha visited the IAPN from 5 till 28 September 2014, in order to learn more about plant nutrition and on soil and plant analysis methods.
As part of a series of events termed IAPN in Dialogue she presented her work with Ugandan small scale famers and the Farmer Learning Platform, an interactive approach to the transfer of knowledge.
Prof. Dr. Jehad Abbadi
Prof. Dr. Jehad Abbadi is Associate Professor for Biology at the Al-Quds University in East-Jerusalem. His work focuses mainly on crop nutrition in semi-arid climates. Sponsored by the Al-Quds University, he stayed at the IAPN from 9 June until 7 August 2014. As a visiting scientist, his work served to deepen and to evaluate the studies he had commenced within the scope of a previous research visit, which had been sponsored by the DAAD, on the effects of potassium on safflower and sunflower. In semi-arid regions, both of these plants are important oil crops. Due to the strong binding of potassium in the soil, it may not be sufficiently available to sunflowers and safflower – a problem with great economic relevance in these regions.
Within the scope of his stay at the IAPN, Mr. Abbadi also dedicated some time to the absorption of the potassium provided to safflower and sunflowers in loam and sandy soils. In addition to research on the interactions between potassium and the nutrient magnesium, he also focused on the quantitative measurement of the K-absorption-kinetics for both crops, with the intention of depicting and validating the resulting process parameters by using a mechanistic process model developed by the Department of Plant Nutrition and Crop Physiology (Claassen, Syring and Jungk, 1986, Claassen and Steingrobe, 1999). Mr. Abbadi also used his stay to conduct trials on the utilization and interaction of phosphorus in the root section of safflower and sunflower in loamy and sandy soils.
Prof. Abbadi stayed at IAPN for the third time. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at the Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, Palestine. Sponsored by the Al-Quds University, he conducted research at the IAPN for three months in summer 2015. As a visiting scientist, his work served to deepen and to evaluate studies that he had commenced within the scope of his previous research visits, which had been sponsored by the DAAD, on the effects of potassium on safflower and sunflower. In semi-arid regions, both of these plants are important oil crops. Due to their substantial demand for potassium, soil availability of K may not suffice to adequately nourish sunflowers and safflower – in particular when water gets short.
Sponsored by the Al-Quds University, Prof. Abbadi conducted research at the IAPN for three months again in summer 2015. As a visiting scientist, his work served to deepen and to evaluate studies that he had commenced within the scope of his previous research visits.
To Daniel Olol, there had never been any question as to what he wanted to do. “I was born in Lira in Northern Uganda. I am from a farming community and to me it was just natural that I studied agriculture”, the young agronomist explains. He completed his studies at the agricultural faculty of Makerere University in Kampala (Uganda). Since April 2013, Daniel Olol has been working as a Program Officer for Crop Productivity Enhancement for the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), an NGO working to combat hunger and to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers. Within the scope of his work for SAA, Daniel Olol mainly trains members of family-owned small farms, enabling them to maintain and even improve soil fertility and productivity.
As part of the project „Growth for Uganda“ Daniel Olol worked at the IAPN from 2 September until 26 October 2013. During this stay, he accumulated a wealth of knowledge on applied plant nutrition and special soil and plant analysis methods, which he plans to pass on to people back home. “I am happy that this knowledge will be transferred to farmers in Uganda to improve their productivity, giving them higher yields which will translate into higher profits and better livelihoods for the farmers,” Daniel Olol summarized his experience. At the same time, he appreciated the opportunity for meeting scientists from all over the world at the IAPN: “For me it was a rare chance to learn about farming in other parts of the world.”
Back home, Yasemin Ceylan works on a research project of Sabanci University in Istanbul. The project mainly focuses on the effects of magnesium (Mg) nutrition on wheat plants under drought stress conditions.
At the time a fourth-year PhD-student of Prof. Ismail Cakmak, Yasemin Ceylan visited the IAPN in September 2013. “During my stay I had a chance to collaborate on a project which was also about drought stress
and Mg,” says Yasemin Ceylan. “During my visit, I learned new techniques and also shared my knowledge with other students.”
Yasemin Ceylan came back to the IAPN in 2015.
Richmond Atobrah – final year student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi – spent three months at the IAPN. From 1 June until 31 August 2013 he worked on a project investigating the effect of potassium on water use efficiency and drought tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum). Trials were conducted in a hydroponic system, with three different levels of potassium provision. Richmond Atobrah was involved in all steps of the investigation, beginning with sowing and cultivation, preparation of the nutrient stock solutions and measurement of the various growth and productivity-related parameters. “Working with Richmond Atobrah, who had never previously been in Europe, was a great joy,” says Bálint Jákli, who supported Atobrah in developing his methods further. “Richmond's enthusiasm was quite infectious. What he enjoyed most was that he received a lot of support in developing his simulation model for image-based biomass development, and the photosynthesis and transpiration rate measurements with our gas exchange system.”
Melis Mengütay spent one month as a visiting student at the IAPN. This stay was part of her Master's program in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering at Sabanci University. Together with her laboratory partner Yasemin Ceylan she joined ongoing projects at the institute. At the end of her stay, Melis Mengütay expressed her gratitude to all those who had made this experience possible: “It was a peerless experience that we improved and exchanged our technical skills contributing to the project with other student members from Germany and around the world.”
Actually, when this Master student from the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Biology came to the IAPN, she was more interested in animals than in plants. “As soon as I came to the IAPN I changed my mind,” Aleksandra Stamenkovic smiles. “It was my pleasure to spend two months working in Professor Mehmet Senbayram's group.” From mid-September until mid-November 2013 the 24-year-old participated in IAPN-projects, learning new techniques and methods. Looking back, Aleksandra Stamenkovic points out she not only profited from the actual research work done by IAPN-scientists, but was also impressed by their ability to transfer this knowledge. “I believe this to be a very important role of the IAPN,” and goes on to explain: “By making me feel comfortable and accepted, people at the IAPN gave me a lot of confidence and motivated me to work and learn more. I am more than happy that I had a chance to come to the IAPN. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Thiago Tonieto visited the IAPN as part of his studies at the Escola Superior de Agricultura “Luiz de Queiroz” at the University of São Paulo. For two months he worked mainly on projects related to water use efficiency and on the emissions of climate-relevant trace gases. “I really enjoyed expanding my research skills. The knowledge I acquired working on the IAPN-projects will certainly influence my development as a professional in my future life,” Thiago Tonieto said at the end of his stay. He appreciated both the professional qualifications of the people he met at the IAPN, as well as their personal qualities. “The IAPN is exemplary for institutes in Germany and all over the world.”
Marta Bermejo visited the IAPN as part of her studies at the Universidad de Sevilla: from 3 October to 5 December 2013 she participated in tasks related to ongoing research projects at the institute.
Gizem Yazici from Turkey spent four months at the IAPN, from 4 November 2013 until 25 February 2014. Her stay in Göttingen was part of her Master's program at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University. “The experiments at the IAPN focused on application of different levels of nutrients and drought stress to the field crops. I was particularly interested in the measurement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the antioxidant activity of plant enzymes. I also improved my theoretical knowledge by attending suitable lectures, and by working at the laboratory, where I also conducted gas exchange and chlorophyll-fluorescence measurements. This improved my analytical skills.”
Gizem Yazici reports that she immediately felt like a member of the team. “Whenever I had some problems or needed assistance, I received the immediate support of the staff. They organized many different social events so that I could meet many new friends from different countries.”