A brief history of your career since leaving the University of Birmingham

I was a research assistant at ISRA before coming to Birmingham. After getting my master’s degree, I went back to my post at the ISRA, and conducted research into pearl millet. In 2011, I registered to become PhD candidate at the Universié Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) at Dakar in Senegal. In July 2th I defended with my thesis and was awarded tres honourable avec les felicitations du jury, which means very honourable with the jury's congratulations. Since July 2016 I am Charge de Recherches (in charge of researches) and my set date of retirement has been extended for 5 more years, until I’m 65. At present I am still the principal millet breeder, and in charge of the seed conservation at the ISRA in Bambey, Senegal.


Skills and knowledge from your postgraduate degree have you used in your career so far

Skills include: Both project and gene bank management, a knowledge and practical experience with plant breeding, statistics, understanding molecular markers, and genetic resource conservation and utilisation.


Main work activities in your current role

My role involves plant breeding, utilising seed technology, genetic resource management, environment based work, and the knowledge and application of biotechnology.


A typical day in your job

I conceive the project protocol, write and print it. Technicians prepare the seeds and we implant the trials in the field. Each morning we visit the plots and take notes until the plants reach maturity. After that, the heads are harvested, dried and threshed. The weights are taken, and further data is collected. After some statistical analysis, tables of results are drawn and then utilised to write reports. The selected plant is kept safe, and used for the next season.


Main challenges in your role

I create new genetic materials, mainly varieties to be used by farmers to produce more food for survival. In this role, I am required to keep all the genetic material safe in a gene bank and medium. This means I have to be extremely careful and follow procedure in everything that I do.


Why did this type of work appeal to you?

For me this is the best job in the world. I provide food for smallholder farmers and conserve biodiversity for future generations. I consider both of these things to be honourable tasks, and thoroughly enjoy undertaking them.


Advice for students looking to enter this area of work?

Breeding and biodiversity conservation are noble jobs. There might not be a huge amount of money to be made, but there are plenty of exciting activities which are important for humanity.