Congratulations to the winners of the
2023 FFAR Fellows Lightning Talk Competition!

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Fellows, the FFAR Fellows, are 83 PhD students from 30 universities across the U.S. and Canada studying agronomy, food science, genomics, biosystems engineering, and a dozen other fields in agriculture and the life sciences.

What brings these graduate students together? The desire to work with others to address the grand challenges in food and agriculture while building the teamwork, leadership, and change-making skills needed to meet those challenges. The annual FFAR Fellows Lightning Talk Competition is a way for fellows to create and practice their science communication skills in a supportive peer-mentorship environment, and then share their talks with the public.

A committee of science professionals selected the first and second place winners in the competition. The People’s Choice Award was decided via an online vote by the public.

To learn more about the FFAR Fellows, funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and industry and other sponsors, and managed by the College of Agriculture and Life Science at NC State University, explore our website and follow us on social (see links at the top of the page).

First Place


Liver Abscesses – Bringing Prevention to the 21st Century

By Ty Thomas, 2021-2024 FFAR Fellow

Second Place

People’s Choice Award

Other finalists in the 2023 competition


Imagine a Future With No More Mushy Blueberries

By Heeduk Oh, 2022-2025 FFAR Fellow


Timely Detection Could Help Growers Save Money on Fungicide Applications

By Mariana Prieto Torres, 2022-2025 FFAR Fellow


Breeding Stronger Blueberries: Defeating Disease, Boosting Health

By Lushan Ghimire, 2022-2025 FFAR Fellow


What Is Soil Carbon Sequestration?

By Ellie Ellis, 2021-2024 FFAR Fellow


Ultraviolet-C (UVC) Light Can Be a Powerful Tool Against Grapevine Powdery Mildew

By Lexie Mcdaniel, 2021-2024 FFAR Fellow


The Search For Soil Carbon in Prairie Pothole Wetlands

By Chantel Chizen, 2021-2024 FFAR Fellow


Catch, Kill, and Release Weed Seeds

By Sarah Chu, 2022-2025 FFAR Fellow