One important component of the Cacao for Peace project is training of graduate students in advanced cacao research. With support of the Fulbright program, CfP will support at least four graduate students.

Penn State has a large team of faculty interested in supporting students from Colombia within the CfP framework. Students can work with one or more faculty but will work with members of the cacao endowed research program to provide cacao specific support.

Penn State Faculty Team

Dr. Guiltinan is a professor of Plant Molecular Biology in the Department of Plant Sciences and his research has explored the molecular basis of plant development and applications of plant science to crop improvement. In addition to the Endowment, his research has been funded by the US Dept. of Energy, National Science Foundation, Gates Foundation, USDA, and from industry sponsors. He has been the Director of the Penn State Endowment for the Molecular Biology of Cacao since 1995, Chairman of the International Group for the Genetic Improvement of Cacao since 2003 and serves as Director of the Plant Science Center of the Penn State Huck Institute of the Life Sciences. Dr. Guiltinan teaches undergraduates and graduates in plant biotechnology and plant science research and has hosted visiting scientists from cocoa producing countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil and Malaysia. Dr. Guiltinan was one of the leaders in the sequencing of the cocoa genome, which as revolutionized the field of cocoa improvement for enhanced disease resistance, yield and quality.

Visit the Guiltinan-Maximova Lab website.

Dr. Siela Maximova is a Senior Scientist and Professor of Horticulture in the Department of Plant Science at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on Theobroma cacao L., the chocolate tree; Malus domestica (apple); and Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant for plant research. Dr. Maximova conducts research projects at Penn State and in cocoa-producing countries, funded by industry, private foundations and government agencies. She has worked on projects in Eastern Europe, West Africa, Asia/Pacific and the Americas and has been involved in large multidisciplinary research teams that include scientists from the US and international research organizations. Dr Maximova has experience working with the private sector, government, non-governmental organizations, academic institutes and donors. Dr. Maximova teaches undergraduates and graduates in plant biotechnology and plant science and has developed the newly approved undergraduate degree in Plant Genetics and Biotechnology. In 2014, Dr. Maximova was named the Inaugural Henrietta H. Fore Women in Science Fellow by CRDF Global.

Other scientists at Penn State that are currently working on cacao or have expressed their interest in participating in the development of this program include a set of collaborators with a diverse set of interests and expertise spanning all aspects of cacao production, processing and food sciences.

Dr. C. Daniel (Dan) Azzara - Alan R. Warehime Professor of Agribusiness and Department head of the Department of Agricultural Economics

Dr. Mark Brennan - Agricultural Economics Sociology and Education

Dr. Leland Glenna - Agricultural Economics Sociology and Education

Dr. Melanie Miller Foster - Ag Sciences Global

Dr. Greg Ziegler, Dr. Joshua Lambert and Dr. Ryan Elias - Food Science

Dr. Maria Jimenez-Gasco - Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Dr. Laura Leites - Ecosystem Science and Management

Dr. Mary Ann Bruns - Soil Science/Microbial Ecology

Dr. David Eissenstat - Woody Plant Physiology

Dr. David Hughes - Entomology and Biology

Dr. Cristina Rosa - Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Dr. Edward Dudley - Food Science

Dr. Michael Jacobson - Ecosystem Science and Management

Dr. Daniel Tobin - Ag Sciences Global

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