Tetsuya Yamada, senior researcher with the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) in Japan is visiting Iowa State University as a visiting scholar under the guidance of Dr. Asheesh Singh, Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy. Tetsuya obtained his undergraduate degree from Hokkaido University and recently received his PhD from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Tetsuya has focused his research on soybean breeding for higher yields, pod shattering tolerance and green stem disorder. Although rice is the main crop in Japan, soybean production is essential in the making of common foods such as tofu.
During his yearlong visit to Iowa State, Tetsuya is applying his background knowledge on soybean breeding while using advanced data analytics for seed yield and other important agronomic and plant protection traits. Tetsuya is most interested in learning more about key reasons that result in higher yields in the United States, and identifying key factors that could potentially be used to improve soybean yields in Japan. He is also using machine learning methods for image processing and trait extraction of important traits and unraveling genetic diversity. While working with Dr. Singh, Tetsuya was able to participate in hands-on learning throughout the entire soybean growing season as well as participate in a number of breeding and research activities that brought together life sciences, data sciences and engineering. Dr. Singh hopes that his participation has given Tetsuya a glimpse of myriad of complex, but interwoven activities essential for a successful breeding program. When asked why he hosts international visitors Dr. Singh said, “these exchange visits are essential for furthering science and technology as they allow researchers to learn from each other. I am very excited about the prospect of continued collaborations with Dr. Yamada. Hosting international visitors helps students, fellows and staff in my group to learn from an international expert and get familiar with other cultures.”
Tetsuya looks forward to apply new theories to his research upon his return to Japan, but he knows that could be difficult with many deterring factors such as many of the technological resources used in the United States are not available in Japan, and soybean research efforts in Japan are minimal due to rice being the primary crop. Also, breeding and testing locations are fewer in Japan due to the size of the country. Tetsuya looks forward to attend the 2020 Soybean Breeder’s workshop and other meetings to continue networking with US researchers and establish new collaborations. Tetsuya and his family have appreciated the warm hospitality that they have received during their visit and will return to Japan on March 31, 2020.