Every now and again, I will be sharing stories behind my CV.
Known as: Juniper Kiss
Residency: United Kingdom (since 2014)
Highly motivated Agricultural R&D Officer in Western Australia, working in agricultural extension. Currently suspended PhD student at the University of Southampton, working with subsistence farmers in Papua New Guinea. Extensive research experience in fieldwork, greenhouse, and wet lab experiments. Passionate about plant science communication, outreach and agricultural extension programs.
2020 - 2024: University of Southampton - NERC-funded INSPIRE Doctoral Training Program.
Running title: Enhancing ecosystem functioning to improve the resilience of subsistence farming in Papua New Guinea.
2019-2020: University of Exeter - BBSRC-funded SWBio Doctoral Training Program:
Running title: Preparing for Fusarium wilt of bananas in Latin America. Exited with MRes with Distinction in Sept 2020 due to lab environment.
2017-2019: Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK – BSc (Hons) Plant Biology (full-time, transferred into the second year). Graduated with First Class.
2014 – 2017: Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), Cambridge, UK – BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation (three years part-time)
RESEARCH SKILLS – CABI, NIAB, ARU, UARK, ABER
Liebe Group (Dalwallinu, Western Australia) - Agricultural Extension, Research and Development Officer
- Working on 17 research projects at the Liebe Group (a not-for-profit grower group).
- Responsible for crop trial coordination with farmers, subcontractors, GRDC, governmental organisations (DPIRD) and universities (e.g., Curtin University, UWA).
- Writing tender applications, designing research projects, monitoring and managing crop field trials, analysing data, organising events, workshops and developing extension materials (newsletters, videos)
NIAB (Cambridge, UK) - Field Trials Technician and Team Leader
Worked within the Agricultural Crop Characterization Department on European crop variety DUS trials
Met strict deadlines set by DEFRA and APHA, with a team of 12 temporary technicians
Trained new staff, coordinated off-site data collection of plant characters from 5,000 test plots and image analysis of oilseed rape petals, pods, and cotyledons of a £1.2 million budget project.
Maintained Long Term Seed Store database, conducted phenol and gel electrophoresis for cereals.
CABI (Egham, UK) - Summer Research Technician
Worked within the Invasive Species Management Team in 2013 and 2015.
Set up multiple-choice choice experiments to test potential arthropod biocontrol agents against invasive plants
Responsible for glasshouse and quarantine facilities maintenance including daily watering and pest management
ARU (Cambridge, UK) and Aberystwyth University (Wales)as an Undergraduate Student
working on an independent research project
Designed and carried out an independent research project on British bramble taxonomy
Collected bramble leaves from contrasting ecosystems the UK and used image analysis (ImageJ software) for geometric morphometrics (MorphoJ and R software)
Extracted leaf tissue DNA and carried out three-loci PCR at Eotvos Lorand University (Budapest, Hungary) for phylogenetic analysis
Completed Introduction to Geometric Morphometrics intensive course by Transmitting Science.
Developed a bramble cane propagation protocol using woody canes.
C. Roy Adair Scholar at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, USA)
10-week internship within the Plant Pathology Department working on downy mildew resistance in baby spinach, including primer designing, Virus-Induced Gene Silencing and tissue culture management.
Isolated and identified plant pathogens from California, carried out pathogenicity testing, DNA extraction, PCR of downy mildew strains and carried out VCG testing of Fusarium isolates of cilantro and celery
Diagnosed spinach and cilantro fields in California and visited blackberry and raspberry breeding stations.
Masters by Research at the University of Bristol (based at the University of Exeter, UK)
Enrolled in the SWBio Doctoral Training Program but exited after one year due to harassment.
Designed and carried out in vitro and greenhouse experiments to understand the lifecycle of Panama disease (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense TR4) on bananas and investigated the effect of banana root exudates on TR4 germination.
Carried out spatial modelling and economic analysis (TV-STAR model) of local banana price shocks in the Philippines due to extreme weather events.
Developed a theoretical mathematical model to estimate the reliability of microbial biological control agents against Panama disease (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense TR4) in the Philippines, suggesting the application of different species and strains at different times of the year, at different locations.
Research and Development Officer - Liebe Group (Australia) 8/2022 - currently
Writer - BotanyOne (UK) 4/2020 – currently
Committee Member of SCI - Horticulture & Agrifood ECR groups 12/9/2019 – 06/2021
Social Media and Communications Assistant – ASPB (USA) 2/2018 – 9/2019
Steering Committee member – New Networks for Nature (UK) 7/2017 – 8/2018
Administration Assistant – Powdery Mildew Summer School
(Eszterházy Károly University, HU) 8/2017 – 9/2017
Executive Committee member – Cambridge Conservation Forum 2/2017 – 8/2017
Field Trials Technician and Team Leader - NIAB (Cambridge, UK) 8/2015 – 12/2016
Summer Research Technician – CABI (Egham, UK) 6/2015 – 8/2015
Catering Assistant – National Trust (Anglesey Abbey, UK) 9/2014 – 6/2015
Administration Assistant – Powdery Mildew Summer School
(Eszterházy Károly University, HU) 6/2014 – 8/2014
Summer Technician – CABI (Egham, UK) 6/2013 – 8/2013
SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS
Royal Society of Geography - IBG Postgraduate Research grant, 2022 (£500) - Swidden agriculture meets new soil metagenomics approach in Papua New Guinea
Judith Heath Explorer for Botany and Research by the Scientific
Exploration Society, 2021 (£5,250) - Go on a "sweet potato hunt" along Mt Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea
NEOF Early Career Pilot Scheme, 2021 (£10,000) - Soil shotgun metagenomic sequencing of the swidden agricultural cycle and experimental sweet potato gardens to explore soil functioning (functional gene abundances)
Heredity Fieldwork Grant by the Genetics Society, 2021 (£1,500) -
Investigating soil functioning during the swidden agricultural cycle in Papua New Guinea
British Society of Plant Pathology's Junior Fellowship, 2021 (£3,000) - For
PhD fieldwork to investigate the relationship between community plant pathogen load and crop species richness in Papua New Guinea.
Tropical Agriculture Association, Standard Award, 2021 (£2,000) - For PhD fieldwork
(establishing experimental gardens) in Papua New Guinea.
Nelson Yield-Limiting Factors Graduate Student Scholarship, 2020 ($3,000) by American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science and Soil Science
The Royal Society of Biology 'Top Student Award' (2019)
The Royal Society of Biology 'Top Project Award for a BSc Student on an RSoB Accredited Scheme' (2019)
Stapledon Society Prize' for the Highest Mark of any IBERS Bachelor of Science Degree (2019)
David Miller Award (£500) by the Society of Chemical Industry -
Attended the CORBANA International Banana Congress in
Travel Award, 2019 - To present at Plant Sciences Symposium
at Minnesota University ($500), sponsored by CORTEVA
'Best Presenter' Award by the Young Systematics Forum, Natural History
Museum, London - presenting "Phylogenetic signal in subgenus Rubus
(brambles, blackberries) leaflet shape using geometric morphometrics" about undergraduate research.
Agronomic Travel Study Undergraduate Scholarship, 2018 ($5,000) by American Society of Agronomy – 3-week intensive Rice: Research to Production course at IRRI (Los Banos, Philippines)
Adair Scholar by University of Arkansas, 2018 ($5,600) – a 10-week internship with Prof Jim Correll, working on downy mildew resistance in spinach, plant-pathogen diagnosis
Phenome Travel Grant, 2018 ($2,000) – Attending and presenting poster and lightning talk about independent research, ‘Revisiting subgenus Rubus (blackberries) taxonomy
ith the combination of geometric morphometrics and molecular methods’
at Phenome Conference in Tucson, AZ organised by ASPB
Conviron Scholarship, 2017 by ASPB - hands-on virtual learning program
that includes career seminars, round-table discussions, and workshops
that help develops skills for success. Mentored by Prof Sarah Wyatt.
Built website www.whystudyplants.com part of the scholarship.
Anglia Trust Foundation Scholarship (£750), 2017 – four weeks visiting the Plant Protection Directorate (Ministry of Agricultural Development) and CABI in Nepal to learn about
agricultural extension programs.
The Big Pitch, 2017 (£1,000) by Anglia Ruskin University – competition for
start-ups consisted of one-year mentorship, leadership coaching and presentation, and business planning boot camp.
Be the Change’ grant, 2017 (£1,000) by the Global Sustainability Institute –
Incorporating GOES magazine’s structure into the curriculum.
Andy Wilson Bursary, 2017 (£1,000) by Anglia Ruskin University – start-up
costs for GOES magazine https://www.goesmagazine.org)
John Ray Summer Research Grant, 2017 (£500) by John Ray Trust – carried out independent research on blackberry taxonomy by combining image analysis with molecular methods.
Golden Opportunities Scholar, 2016 ($2,200) by American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science and Soil Science – Travelled to ASA, ASCS, ASSS’s AGM in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
Anglia Trust Foundation Scholarship, 2016 (£560) – two weeks at Konnevesi
Research Station at Jyvaskyla University, Finland. Completed Boreal Winter
Methods in Community Ecology course.
Anglia Trust Foundation Scholarship, 2015 (£750) – 10 weeks in the Namib Desert at Kuzikus Nature Reserve, completing vegetation surveys, animal population counts, and small mammal trappings.
Second place in student poster and 5-minute rapid-fire presentation during ASA-CSSA-SSSA AGM 2020: "Biocontrols Against Banana Pests and Diseases: A Bayesian Meta-Analysis”
Second place in student presentation during Sustainable Agronomy Conference by ASA-CSSA-SSSA 2020:
"Biocontrols Against Banana Pests and Diseases: A Bayesian Meta-Analysis”
‘Best Presenter’ award (£100) by the Systematists Association, Young Systematists Forum, Natural History Museum, London, 2018 –Presented "Phylogenetic signal in subgenus Rubus (brambles, blackberries) leaflet shape using geometric morphometrics"
Phenome Travel Grant ($2,000) for Phenome Conference in Tucson, AZ, 2018 – Presented poster and lightning talk titled "Revisiting subgenus Rubus (blackberries) taxonomy with the combination of geometric morphometrics and molecular methods"
Poster presenter at XIV. Hungarian Plant Anatomy Symposium, 2017, Eotvos Lorant University, Budapest, Hungary – Title: “Can bramble taxonomy rely on leaf morphology?”
Speaker at “Megadiverse communities - from patterns to explanations” international workshop at the Konnevesi Research Station, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, 2016 – Title: “Three-way systems and their application in biological control agent testing at CABI”
Interviews, Plant Day infographics, Taproot podcast and GOES magazine editing and designing:
I was instructed to take 1 day off which led to me sleeping in a storage cupboard at a Travel Lodge...
I lived in a tent during the summer and was told off for buying too many cakes for my team!
My supervisors told me NOT to work on brambles so I HAD TO work on brambles...
Fell in love with statistics here!
Filled out the Conviron application on a coach journey which led to an internship working on #plantsci social media
Ran mini-module where every student got cake/chocolate if they asked a question and everyone got to design their own business cards.
This summer I flew AROUND THE GLOBE with 2 scholarships - London to Arkansas, Arkansas to Vancouver, Vancouver to Manila, Manila to Doha, Doha to Ireland.
Before you think I'm a Super Nerd... Please read my blog!
Video of how I started up GOES magazine at ARU in 2017.
Video during lockdown about bramble - trying to cheer people up...
Recorded it for the Sustainable Agronomy Conference in 2020.
"PhD hopes dreams" presentation in 2021.