Focused on Food
For the last twenty years, Narayanan Narayanan has been working on research to improve food crops. His work is focused on three main areas: plant nutrition, virus resistance, and crop protection.
Plant nutrition research aims to make the plants that we eat even more nourishing. Virus resistance research works to improve plants’ resistance to diseases that could otherwise wipe out entire harvests. Crop protection research pursues solutions for pests and other environmental factors that threaten plants.
His work primarily focuses on cassava, an important staple food crop in eastern and western Africa. “Everyone needs proper food,” Narayanan says. “The research that I do impacts nutrition for almost 800 million people in the world.”
Beyond the Lab
Narayanan is drawn to research that benefits agriculture. “Coming from India, a major agricultural country, I have always been interested in crop protection,” he says. Playing a part in ensuring healthier, plentiful food for the world is what motivates Narayanan every day. He is inspired by the plants that he works with and notes that plants can teach us a lot about sustainable farming practices and clean agriculture.
“It’s inspiring to know that the research I do could go beyond the lab, be used in the field by farmers, and end up on the plate for consumers,” he says.
When he isn’t working on his research, Narayanan loves to spend time with his family. He is also a principal and teacher at Missouri Tamil School, where over 300 students from kindergarten to eighth grade can earn world language credits and a Seal of BiLiteracy by studying Tamil, a South Indian language.