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Graduate Student Focuses on Plant Breeding and Genetics in Winter Wheat

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Itunuoluwa Bola Adegbite is a graduate student from Nigeria. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, and majored in agronomy with a focus on maize breeding and genetics. She graduated as one of the first-class students in her department, and following her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the Youth Ag Summit organized by Bayer Crop Science in 2021. Through the summit, she gained invaluable insight and connected with global perspectives in agriculture.


Adegbite chose to study at Oklahoma State University because of the unique qualities she found captivated her.


“My journey to OSU has been nothing short of divine,” she said. “From my first knowledge of the school to the initial meeting with my advisor and the smooth admission process, the university’s commitment to excellence aligns perfectly with my academic goals.”


Adegbite said she also likes OSU’s outstanding wheat breeding program.


Advised by Dr. Brett Carver, Adegbite’s research centers around wheat quality, focusing on the influence of the Bx7oe protein subunit on the functionality and utilization of hard winter wheat by examining the quality of both the flour and the dough.


During her final year as an undergraduate, as she wrote her thesis in maize breeding and genetics, Adegbite often found herself in the field planting and collecting data.


“It was the experience I loved,” she said. “The profound realization that our research had a direct impact on food production, contributing to feeding the world, was both inspiring and humbling.”


This realization is what fueled her passion for a career in plant breeding and is what carried Adegbite forward into her current research in wheat. The ongoing work in the wheat breeding program addresses immediate challenges, and not only provides farmers with optimal cultivars that not only enhance their livelihoods, but also play a crucial role in feeding the world.


“The fact that a significant portion of the wheat produced in the U.S. is exported adds a global dimension to the research,” she said. “It’s more than research. It’s a commitment to solving pressing issues and making a meaningful contribution to agriculture and food security on a broader scale.”


Adegbite’s favorite part of graduate school is her enriched experience by the diverse communities she has become a part of.


“In my first semester, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) in the department stood out for its warm reception to new students and engaging programs, not to mention the enjoyable perk of free lunches,” she said.


Adegbite also joined the African Student Organization and is currently serving as treasurer, while also becoming involved in her local church, which further enhanced her sense of community and support. In addition, attending conferences has given her the opportunity to see the world of ag, and has provided a platform to connect with professionals in the field and explore different cities in the U.S.


After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in plant breeding, and she would love to work in industry before moving into academia. One fun fact about Adegbite is she doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle. In her free time, she attends choir rehearsals because she loves to sing.


“It’s one of my favorite activities that I always look forward to,” she said. “This year, I’m taking up a new hobby—learning how to play the keyboard. I think it will be really fun.”

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