Skip to Main Content

Student’s applied mycology research benefits farmers and consumers

“Being in the heart of the Congo Basin, I came to understand forestry’s importance to us as a country and was curious to do studies in that area,” shared Blaise Jumbam, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology.

Jumbam had long been interested in biology, but family members in his hometown of Bamenda, Cameroon urged him to pursue banking. Jumbam gave finance a try, studying at the University of Dschang, but switched to botany at the University of Buea.  

After Jumbam completed his undergraduate studies, he joined a research project involving tropical forests and taught high school biology.  He then returned to the University of Buea where he earned a master’s degree as the top graduate in his class. Jumbam said the accomplishments convinced his family he made the right decision. 

While working as an assistant researcher on forest soils and botanical collections at the Institute of Research and Agriculture Development in Cameroon, Jumbam met Cathie Aime, professor of mycology and director of the Purdue Herbaria.

“It was a golden opportunity,” said Jumbam. “We don’t have the infrastructure in Cameroon to do quality research and it was always at the top of my mind to find contacts abroad.”

Jumbam joined Aime’s lab in May 2018. Jumbam said he appreciates Aime’s confidence in her graduate students, the welcoming atmosphere and the diversity of her lab. “We have people from almost every continent,” he noted. 

In the lab, Jumam conducted research in applied mycology, exploring fungal biocontrol of cyst nematodes.

“I am looking at fungi candidates that we can use to control potato and soybean nematodes in the U.S.,” Jumbam explained. “These biological controls are alternatives to fungicides that have been banned. 

“The pests are a big problem, affecting the lives of many people from the farmer to the consumer. My motivation is to find a solution against this pest so we all have communities where we have enough food.”

Jumbam plans to graduate in 2022. “My plan is to head back home and share my experiences with others who may want to go to graduate school, so they can know where to go to get a quality education.”

Blaise Jumbam, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology Blaise Jumbam, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

Featured Stories

Alex Dudley holds a black vulture; Alex is pictured through a hole in a rock formation; Alex holds her camera in front of a forested mountain landscape.
Meet FNR Outstanding Senior Alex Dudley

From her research on black vulture ecology in the Zollner lab and on digital forestry under Dr....

Read More
Yellow flowers against a leafy green background
April Showers Bring May Flowers to Jules Janick Horticulture Garden

The sweet smell of hundreds of blossoms draws pollinators and people alike to the Jules Janick...

Read More
Dr. Rob Swihart, Bob Burke and others at an HTIRC meeting in 2016.
FNR Remembers Alumnus, HTIRC Advisory Committee Member Bob Burke

Robert Dean “Bob” Burke, who received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue...

Read More
John Couture in Martell Greenhouse at the Wright Center.
John Couture named University Faculty Scholar for multifaceted research in plant and insect ecology

John Couture has been chosen as a 2024 University Faculty Scholar for his exceptional research...

Read More
Bob Auber presents from a screen titled "A Day in the Life." In the foreground, there are two graduate students watching.
‘Plants to people:’ Bob Auber’s path from the Center for Plant Biology to oncology

On Friday March 22, Bob Auber returned to Room 116 in Whistler Hall to stand behind a podium in...

Read More
Measuring soil in a field
New Indiana Organic Network to engage farmers in statewide soil health census

A Purdue University interdisciplinary team is establishing a network of organic farmers to...

Read More
To Top