The Young Researchers’ Lunch for November hosted Star Yanxin Gao, a Breeding Informatics Instructor at Cornell University, USA. Dr. Gao visited IRRI as part of the Genomic Open Source Breeding Informatics Initiative (GOBII) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GOBII is a collaboration of software engineers, geneticists, and plant breeders at CGIAR centers in Mexico, India, and the Philippines. Together they will develop databases and software tools for breeders to use genomic information for identifying diverse farmers’ needs, developing analytical tools to help breeders make selections among breeding lines, and integrating the new tools into existing information systems used by each CGIAR center.
The group discussed different perspectives about support to breeding work, as well as general questions about graduate school and career paths. “Career paths don’t have to be a straight line,” said Dr. Gao. “Sometimes you might realize that you are climbing the wrong mountain, so it’s ok to go back down and stroll along the beach for a while before starting to climb again.”
Dr. Gao (third from the right in photo) also emphasized the importance of taking care of both work and personal relationships. She said that even though it’s important to work hard at our careers, we should always prioritize our relationships with other people both at work and in our personal lives because that is what can keep us happy over the long term.
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