Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

A blog about leading science in peanut and food security.

PMIL student Hassen takes university teaching post


Abdi Hassen, who completed research for a PhD with support from the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, has been appointed an assistant professor of Plant Pathology in the School of Plant Sciences at Haramaya University in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.

Abdi Hassen (in the lab in late 2015) worked with Renee Arias at the NPRL. He recently joined the faculty at Haramaya University in Ethiopia. (Photo by Allison Floyd)

Over several months, Hassen worked with Renee Arias at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson, Ga. There, Arias’ team is working to prevent the formation and accumulation of aflatoxin in peanut plants and seeds by silencing several genes in the aflatoxin biosynthesis pathway using RNA interference. Hassan collected samples of Aspergillus flavus, the fungus that causes aflatoxin, in his native Ethiopia and isolated the various strains as a means to validate Arias’s new strategy with diverse strains of the fungus different from those found in the US.

Back home in Ethoipia, Hassen has trained fellow researchers in aflatoxin detection methods, using some of the expertise he gained while working with PMIL.

He is part of the National Peanut Project team based at Haramaya University; the group is addressing peanut production constraints and working to enhance production and improve growers’ income through empowering women.

Hassen’s job will include teaching and advising graduate students.

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