Maria Salas Fernandez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University (ISU). She received a B.S. in Agricultural Production Engineering from the Argentine Catholic University, an M.S. in Plant Physiology from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Cornell University. Before her appointment in the academia, she worked in the private sector in Argentina, at the R&D Department of American Cyanamid Company and as a sorghum breeder junior at Nidera SA. She initiated and leads a sorghum field breeding program at ISU to develop germplasm for forage and biofuel production adapted to the Midwest. Her research program is also focused on the use of genomics and high-throughput phenotyping technology to identify genetic mechanisms controlling traits such as plant architecture, photosynthesis, photoprotection and cold tolerance at germination. Dr. Salas Fernandez is a member of the R. F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding at Iowa State University and has been selected as a Plant Sciences Institute Scholar for Predictive Phenomics at ISU.
- 2013 American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Early Career Professional Award
- 2014 National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) Early Career Award
- NSF CAREER grant for her novel research in photosynthesis and photoprotection
- 2018 Baker Agronomic Excellence Award (ISU)