Global Glimpses – September 2020

Cochran Fellows visiting a research station in July 2019 as part of the USDA Cochran Program China grant.

From the Director’s Desk

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome you to a new academic year, and present a new look and feel for our CALS Global quarterly newsletter – Global Glimpses.

It has been a challenging time for us these past months at UW, and around the world. We want to acknowledge all the international faculty, staff, post-docs, students and visiting scholars who have endured the trying times we faced in Madison. Of course, the CALS Global community extends far beyond just those at UW. It includes our alumni, colleagues, and partners scattered across many countries and continents. This strong extended global community is essential to the pursuits of learning and advancing knowledge through research and collaboration. Our lives are enriched by the rich and diverse experiences, perspectives, and contributions of every one of us. Thank you for being a part of this vast CALS Global community.
In this time of rapidly unfolding events, please continue to monitor campus news and developments from:

If you have CALS specific questions, comments, or concerns, or cannot find the resources you need from other sources, please reach out to CALS Global. Our international community is integral to the success of the college and we are here to support you in any way that we can. If you have any suggestions on how CALS can be more active and inclusive, please share them with us. To our newest members of the international community, Welcome to Madison and On Wisconsin!

— Sundaram Gunasekaran, CALS Global Director

Dante Pizarro at his silvopastoral systems field site in the Peruvian Amazon.
Dante visiting the Dairy Forage Research Center in October, 2019.

Borlaug Fellowship leads to long-term collaboration

What began as a mentor/mentee relationship between 2018 Borlaug Fellow Dante Pizarro (Livestock and Climate Change Center at Universidad  Nacional  Agraria  La  Molina, Peru) and Valentin Picasso Risso (CALS-Agronomy) has developed into an ongoing scientific and intellectual collaboration.  Their work together focuses on silvopastoral systems and the development of an innovative tool to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Livestock  production  is  critical  to  smallholder  income  and  livelihoods  in  Peru  but  is  also  a significant source  of  GHG emissions.  Their research applies this tool to the vulnerable Northern Peruvian Amazon ecosystem to better understand how silvopastoral systems can increase productivity of livestock systems and increase small farmer incomes while sequestering carbon. 

Following their initial grant from the Foreign Agricultural Service of USDA to support the Borlaug Fellowship, they pursued and won a Scientific Cooperation Research Program grant to continue the research. From there, Dante was accepted into the PhD program in Dairy Science and is working with Dr. Picasso Risso and Dr. Wattiaux (Animal and Dairy Science) on the evaluation of silvopastoral systems as a mitigation and adaptation strategy to climate change in the tropics. Together they have joined with Dr. Carlos Alfredo Gomez at La Molina, Dr. Heathcliffe Riday at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center and other partners to pursue a PEER grant through the National Academy of Sciences.  Despite the unexpected challenges posed by COVID-19, the team has continued its research in an adapted format.

For more information on Dr. Picasso and Dante’s work visit the Forage and Perennial Grains website here.

CALS Alumnus behind India’s first COVID-19 Vaccine

Krishna Ella, (Plant Pathology PhD ’93) from Tamil Nadu, India, is the man responsible for India’s first COVID-19 vaccine. Ella started his college experience studying Agriculture and received his MS from the University of Hawaii before arriving in Madison in 1987. He spent the majority of his time in Russell Labs and has fond memories of the Friday lab meetings with beer and cheese, Babcock ice cream, and raising his two children in the Eagle Heights neighborhood. Before he returned to India in 1996, he went to the Medical University of South Carolina where he studied Molecular Biology.

Dr. Ella launched Bharat Biotech International Ltd in 1996 as a company dedicated to creating innovative vaccines and bio-therapeutics. As of today, Bharat Biotech has over 160 patents and has delivered over 3 billion vaccine doses all over the world. The company is known for developing the world’s most affordable vaccine for Rotavirus, the world’s first clinically proven and WHO pre-qualified Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine, being the first company to file global patents for both Chikungunya and Zika viruses and is about to become the world’s largest supplier of rabies vaccines.

Today Dr. Ella is facing his biggest challenge to date as Bharat Biotech works on developing COVAXIN, one of the frontrunners in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine in India. The vaccine was the first to get approval from the Drug Controller General of India for human trials and is currently in Phase II Human clinical trials. Bharat Biotech has also partnered with UW-Madison and FluGen Inc. to develop and produce CoroFlu, a COVID-19 vaccine expected to begin human clinical trials by the fall of 2020. For more information on COVAXIN and Dr. Ella visit Bharat Biotech’s website.

Dr. Krishna Ella (PhD ’93), founder of Bharat Biotech
International Ltd.

CALS Global Receives Cochran Fellowship

A Holstein dairy calf is seen in it’s hutch enclosure at the UW Emmons Blaine Dairy Cattle Research Center in Arlington, Wisconsin on May 19, 2014. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

CALS Global, in collaboration with the Center for Dairy Research, was awarded the 2020-2021 Cochran Fellowship, focused on U.S. Cheese Marketing and Promotion for Brazil. Since 1984 the Cochran Fellowship Program has helped share American agricultural technology and innovation across the globe by providing U.S.-based training opportunities for more than 18,000 agricultural professionals from 126 countries. This program provides 2-3 week training opportunities to agricultural professionals from middle-income countries, emerging markets, and emerging democracies. The fellows receive hands-on training to enhance their technical knowledge and skills in areas related to agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.

This program will provide training and networking opportunities to seven Brazilian cheese importers, marketing specialists, and related dairy industry professionals. They will learn about U.S. cheese marketing and promotion through interactions with farms, industry, and government partners. The program includes training and visits throughout Wisconsin to learn about cheese marketing and promotion from different perspectives, including the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Fellows will attend lectures provided by UW-Madison, UW-Extension, state government and industry representatives with expertise related to marketing and promotion of U.S. cheese.

Seeking input for Global Seminar Series

Attendees applaud a talk at the 2019 Go Global Symposium: Advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Through University Engagement at the Biochemistry Laboratories at UW–Madison in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS

In an effort to facilitate collaboration and international engagement, CALS Global is developing a seminar series that will focus on global topics and work within the college. We are seeking input on the level of interest in attending and participating, as well as any other suggestions you may have for the events.

Seminar Series Input

International Opportunities

Interested in getting started with international work, but unsure where to start? Contact the CALS Global Office for help with finding funding opportunities, project development, and identifying potential partners. For a current list of potential opportunities visit our website.

Resources and Reminders