‘Research is something I can use to help me in my future’

NDSU researchers are changing the future of agriculture in North Dakota.

Carrie Miranda is leading genetic research in soybeans at NDSU. Miranda joined the university in 2020 as an assistant professor of plant sciences and project leader for the soybean breeding program.

Her research benefits the breeding program and evaluates, creates and releases new soybean varieties for the state that also benefits the breeding program.

“The goal of my research and breeding program is to ensure North Dakota farmers have access to superior soybean varieties,” Miranda said. “If I can solve a problem they have or discover a new genetic mechanism that can increase or protect their yields, then I have ensured that a North Dakota farmer will have a profitable year. All my work is to ensure the livelihood of the North Dakota soybean farmer.”

Undergraduate student Forrest Hanson became interested in Miranda’s work after taking a class with her in the fall.

“Last semester, I was taking Dr. Miranda’s plant breeding class,” said the recent graduate from Devils Lake, North Dakota. “She took us out to one of her plots in Casselton. I talked to her after class, I was just like, ‘Hey, this is something that’s really been an interest of mine. I think that this is a path I want to go down.’ And she kind of just took the ropes from there. She was very welcoming.”

Hanson is working in Miranda’s lab doing polymerase chain reaction testing on soybeans to determine differing maturity groups within each genetic sample. He was prepared by previous NDSU study for much of what he’s doing in the lab. He said he’s excited to apply his knowledge to innovative research.

“For me, research is something I can use to help me in my future,” he said. “It provides you with a lot of information and valuable connections you can make early on in your career. I think that’s important.”

His experience in Miranda’s lab encouraged him to apply to graduate school at NDSU to hopefully continue working in the lab.

“It is imperative to encourage undergraduates that are interested in pursuing research careers,” Miranda said. “I want to ensure to students that a research career is accessible to them by giving them exposure to the reality of breeding and genetics early.”