Feng Qu grew up in rural China during a time when everything was rationed and children were chronically hungry. These experiences greatly influenced his decision to pursue a career in research and find meaningful solutions for farmers and consumers in the world of plant pathology.
Now halfway around the world, he is a molecular plant virologist at The Ohio State University (OSU) who dedicates his time to improving soybean crops.
“I focus on soybeans because it’s a crop that provides balanced nutrition and is an important source of income for Ohio farmers,” said Qu. He enjoys working with the Ohio Soybean Council and its farmer board because they understand the importance of his research and the value it brings to their soybean fields.
For the past few years, Qu has immersed himself in genetic projects, including using viruses to silence genes in order to improve disease and pest resistance in soybean cultivars and finding more efficient ways to enhance traits using CRISPR technology. This research will benefit farmers by reducing the need for labor and chemical inputs, while increasing yields and quality.
Though Qu works with a top-notch team at OSU doing what he loves, his favorite part of the job is talking with farmers.
“Interacting with farmers deepens my appreciation for their hard work and makes me more conscious of the value of their investments in our research,” explained Qu. “These interactions also prompt me to rethink the importance of applied research.”