Joanna Lado Lindner
I was born in 1982 in a windy city called Montevideo in a small country named Uruguay, where I started my formal education. My growing curiosity about plants started when I was a child and explored how to grow lentil plants at home. After germination, the challenge was how to separate them from their humid cotton birthplace without damaging their roots to grow them in the soil. Prove and error drove me to success and encouraged my interest in this little living being part of the Plantae kingdom. Further on I decided to follow agronomy studies at the University of the Republic obtaining my degree in 2007. I focused my studies on plants, woody-fruity ones, since their intricate physiology resulted extremely attractive and my real passion was to improve and conserve food quality. The only way to improve it was to learn how plants create this unique products, their fruit, where they invest all the best. The second part was to maintain fruit quality during the conservation focused on nutritional properties. It was in 2008 when I and my life partner decided to move out to Salto in the north of Uruguay, following a position at the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA). I started then to learn about applied research and citrus postharvest. The best of all was to spend three years learning and working closely to citrus industry and growers. In this agro-exporter country, postharvest challenges were related to the long trips our fruit should take in order to reach international markets. In 2010 I received a scholarship from the European Social Fund and the CSIC in Spain. Then, I carried out my master and doctorate studies in Food Science at the University of Valencia. During most of the academic defiant period of our lives, nearly 5 years, we developed different techniques and skills, learning to live, decide and take risks in a foreign country, sowing many seeds that gave great professional and personal harvests; and still do. While studying abroad, I realized that through my work in food quality (nutritional and sensorial) we could impact on public health. With my PhD degree, I re-gathered with my old team in Salto in 2015 and focused our research on two main aspects. First, to understand the factors behind citrus tolerance to low temperatures (cold treatments). Second, to explore the quality of different vegetable products (sensorial and nutritional) in order to produce healthier and tastier food. I proposed and collaborated in developing a reference area in agro-food research in INIA and I am still joining this great task force. I postulated myself to the National Research System (SNI) and got it. In addition, I involved myself to different academic programs to lead postgraduate students and started to build up a strong collaborative network (academic and growers-industry). Our aim is to collaborate on solving the most relevant bottlenecks in agro-food production and marketing, focused on citrus exports. Actually I am responsible for two projects, one in fundamental and another in applied research, both from the National Agency (ANII). At the same time, we built a sectorial collaborative network project that gathers the five citrus great Uruguayan exporters, INIA and IRTA (Spain). I am also part of two INIA projects focused on horticulture breeding. I started to share the acquired knowledge forming three students (1 graduate and 2 postgraduate). Sailing on this wild turbulent sea I found the best gift of life: the immensurable love of becoming a mother. Micaela came to our lives in June 2017 and fill home with laugh, cries and unimaginable challenges, helping us to grow and learn much more than we thought was possible. Now I am enjoying and learning how to balance motherhood with science. The great team we form is making this possible.