For Germán Sandoya Miranda, a lifelong passion for agriculture began when he was a child playing on his grandparents’ farms in his homeland of coastal Ecuador.
As he neared adulthood, studying agriculture was a natural fit. Sandoya Miranda obtained a master’s degree in agriculture and horticultural plant breeding from the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Studies – CIHEAM in the IAMZ, followed by a doctoral degree in agricultural and horticultural plant breeding Universidade de Vigo in Spain.
Today, he is an assistant professor of plant breeding and genetics for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), where the bulk of his work is improving new lettuce varieties that can beat the heat of Florida’s subtropical climate and withstand pests and diseases. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles.
Stationed at UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, Sandoya Miranda is a statewide extension specialist in leafy vegetables and leads a lettuce breeding program that has gained international attention and national funding.
“I wanted to study agriculture my whole life because I grew up in that environment,” he said. “I knew you could do more in agriculture as I got older. I just didn’t know exactly what that could be. So, early enough, I did an internship in a research institution investigating maize breeding and learned that crossing one maize with another maize made a better maize in many different aspects. That caught my curiosity for agriculture even more. It was at that time that I decided to pursue graduate school.”
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