By Sarah Rubinstein | Bond LSC

Bing Yang is a Bond Life Sciences Center principal investigator. | Photo by Braiden Wade, Bond LSC

For a researcher passionate about making crops more resilient against diseases, working in a rapidly growing, influential country was a huge opportunity. 

Bing Yang, a Bond Life Sciences Center principal investigator, put his knowledge into practice earlier this year in India thanks to a recent Fulbright Specialist Program award. 

“It was a very rich experience for me to go there and have that firsthand experience in a foreign country,” Yang said. 

Yang ran a two-week project at Punjab Agricultural University in India, leading workshops and giving lectures on genome editing in plants. As a scientist who works with technologies that improves a crop’s disease resistance and makes plants as efficient as possible, he was especially interested in sharing his findings in India to bridge the information gap to help ramp up productivity in India. 

“India is the most populous nation in the world and agriculture is a big part of their economy, so they’re very interested in technologies to make their plants more productive,” he said. 

Yang learned of the Fulbright opportunity when a visiting scholar from Punjab Agricultural University came to work in his lab and encouraged him to apply. The Fulbright Specialist Program links Indian and American universities and institutions to draw on the expertise of U.S. scholars. Specialists enhance their understanding of the cultural and educational contexts of the host country while educating in their areas of expertise, according to the United States – India Educational Foundation website.

Once he arrived, Yang adapted his teaching style to a different set of students. While his students at Mizzou were well-versed in this technology, he had to approach this workshop from the ground up. He also faced the struggle of educating the students within such a short period of time. 

“The first step I took was giving them the big picture about the technology,” he said, “and then they can simulate or teach other pupils in order to expand the technology.”

Throughout his workshop, he connected with the students and their excitement to learn. His students even sent him back news articles documenting their collaboration.

“It was a wonderful experience, they loved to hear lectures especially from people from other countries.” 

The experience left Yang wanting to extend the collaboration further. He is interested in going back to hold another workshop and hopes to create an exchange program between students and faculty from the universities. 

“They’re a diverse body of students and participants who learned from this hands-on experience in such a short time,” he said. 

Find more about this Fulbright grant and other cross-cultural educational opportunities at