Student Spotlight: Matheus Baseggio

Matt Baseggio

July 1, 2019

Matheus Baseggio is a doctoral candidate in plant breeding and genetics from Passo Fundo, Brazil. Having completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Passo Fundo in Brazil and a master’s degree at the University of Florida, he opted to pursue a doctorate from Cornell due to the reputation of its plant breeding and genetics program.

What is your area of research and why is it important?

My work is focused on the nutritional quality of sweet corn. Surprisingly large proportions of the U.S. population do not obtain the recommended daily amount of several vitamin and nutrients, in particular iron, zinc, vitamin E, and certain carotenoids. My project is trying to understand the genetic mechanisms underpinning natural variation for these compounds in fresh sweet corn kernels. The ultimate goal is to convert high-yielding, locally adapted lines into more nutritious sweet corn lines.

What inspired you to choose this field of study?

As part of a family with agricultural ties, becoming interested in agriculture was a natural progression. Later, after receiving a master’s degree in agronomy, I worked as a breeder assistant for one year, which led me to pursue a Ph.D. degree in plant breeding and genetics.

What does it mean to you to have received the Crop Science Graduate Student Scholarship?

It is really exciting having your work recognized by such a prestigious award. The scholarship is supported by gifts from the family of the first CSSA president, Gerald O. Mott, who trained 75 graduate students during his 45-year career, so it is an honor being one of only two awardees. Also, I received the news just a few days before my B-exam, which was great.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of your research or scholarship?

I enjoy exploring the outdoors, hiking, BBQing at the lake with friends, wine tasting, and traveling.

Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?

Cornell plant breeding and genetics has a global reputation for high-quality research and instruction. This, along with making amazing connections with professors and researchers who are the leaders in their field, could provide me with a solid foundation to pursue career opportunities. Additionally, I really liked the project I am working on, mainly for its potential impact on people’s health.