- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Sales, on track to receive his bachelor's degree in biotechnology (with an emphasis on plant biotechnology) in June 2022, submitted his successful research application on “Toward a More Resistant Plant: Uncovering Plant Host Targets of Novel Plant Parasitic Nematode Effectors.” He is one of only four students to be awarded the summer fellowship.
“Ado is a highly gifted student with a strong interest in agriculture and plant biology,” said Siddique. “I have really enjoyed one-on-one interaction with Ado and I have observed him growing academically and intellectually. He has a level of maturity in his research, including contributing ideas for troubleshooting, that I had no hesitations about giving him the space to continue his project independently. The IIFH fellowship program will add to his personal and professional growth and contribute to the experience of first-generation immigrant students like himself.”
ILFH awards Undergraduate Research Center Fellowships (URC-IIFH) to faculty-guided undergraduate students who perform research related to food, agriculture and health. Each fellow receives a summer research stipend, and funds for travel and/or research supplies. The fellows also will participate in professional development and entrepreneurship training, including the on-campus Entrepreneurship Academy. They will present their research results at the annual IIFH Innovator Summit in spring 2022, with opportunities to participate in the UC Davis Little Bang poster competition and the Big Bang competition.
His research involves RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis, as well as GreenGate Cloning of plant parasitic nematodes genes. His skills also include seed germination and nematode hatching for plant-nematode assays, and the microscopic evaluation of nematode damage on plants.
Sales' journey to the Siddique lab began in May 2019 when he was selected a research scholar in the campuswide program, Research Scholar in Insect Biology (RSPIB), launched by UC Davis Entomology and Nematology faculty Jay Rosenheim, Joanna Chiu and Louie Yang to provide undergraduates with a closely-mentored research experience in biology. Students join in their first or second year and are placed in a faculty mentor's laboratory where they receive ongoing training and career guidance in research and scientific writing. They also learn how to present their research results at professional scientific meetings and to prepare applications for graduate or professional schools.
When Sales learned that Rosenheim, a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, also co-leads RSPIB, “I knew that I should apply to this program to gain more research experience and valuable connections with professors in campus.”
Sales said he chose the Siddique lab because “I found his research impactful, engaging, and unique. As someone who has always been fascinated by agriculture and plant biotechnology, I found plant parasitic nematode research as an important field of research that is underestimated and unexplored. I wanted to be part of this research because I think I would have more room to grow as a researcher and a student.”
He initially worked in the Siddique lab with postdoctoral researcher Henok Yimer. “At first, I had zero lab experience and knowledge, so I had to be intentional and attentive when it came to following lab procedures and lab experiments such as PCR or gel electrophoresis. Gradually, I became familiar with the basic assays and techniques and when Fall 2020 came, I was given my very first independent research. My research involved the identification of plant host targets of plant parasitic nematode effector proteins using cloning and microscopy techniques.”
With assistance from Siddique, Sales learned of the URC-IIFH summer fellowship and submitted a research summary, innovation statement, and letters of recommendation. An interview followed. “I was fortunate to be awarded this fellowship,” he said, “and continue my research in Dr. Siddique's lab to learn and do competent research.”
Born and raised in Manila, the Philippines, Sales moved to the United States as a teen and is a graduate of Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon. He serves as a student intern at the UC Davis Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies to help preserve the oral history of Filipino-Americans in the Greater Sacramento Area.
He is also vice president of the UC Davis French Club; a member of the Pilipinx Americans in Science and Engineering; and the UC Davis representative to the Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture Hackathon, which explores what technology can do for agriculture.