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University of Sao Paulo Student Intern Leads Flag Leaf Angle Project

José Gabriel Gonçalves RibeiroJosé Gabriel Gonçalves Ribeiro, an undergraduate student at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil, is completing a 7-month internship at Iowa State University under the guidance of Dr. Sotirios Archontoulis, Associate Professor in agronomy.

During his internship, José works with other students and postdocs in Dr. Archontoulis’s lab on a variety of projects related to crop physiology and agronomy of maize and soybean crops. José assists in researching the soil conditions in which the crops grow by probing and evaluating soil samples and measuring the crops’ root growth over time. He also assists with other plant measurements, such as nitrogen trails on corn, ear manipulation, leaf angle, and biomass production on trails with 40 hybrid materials from 1985 to 2020. José noticed that Iowa’s black soil type is rich in nutrients and organic matter, contrasting to the Brazilian soils. “Assisting in the day-to-day research has allowed me to learn new skills while utilizing advanced technology used in Dr. Archontoulis’s lab. The most interesting part of the research thus far has been finding root materials from previous years as the organic matter hasn’t yet broken down the complete root systems.”

Dr. Archontoulis LabDuring his time at Iowa State, José was also able to gain valuable research and communication skills when Dr. Archontoulis and Emily Wright, lab manager, presented him with the opportunity to lead a flag leaf angle project, in which he was responsible for doing all of the measurements and data analysis and presented his findings to the lab group. He will also start observing an agronomy class, which will help broaden his horizons and knowledge of agriculture. “The opportunities presented to me during my internship have opened my eyes to new research areas and expanded my knowledge of agriculture. Because of these opportunities, I have started thinking about furthering my education or continuing my research work after graduation.”

José was selected for the internship through a connection between Caio dos Santos, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Archontoulis’s lab, and the Agriculture Experimentation Group (GEA) program at the University of Sao Paulo. Caio dos Santos is a University of Sao Paulo alum and a previous member of the Agriculture Experimentation Group (GEA). This is the second year that University of Sao Paulo undergraduate students have had the opportunity to visit Iowa State through an internship program. For him, the opportunity of being here, making contacts, learning about the grad students’ projects, knowing ISU facilities and academia, and getting in touch with Iowa fields and corn production are one of the best skills this internship is providing. José will return to the University of Sao Paulo in December, where he will complete his undergraduate degree in agronomy.