Romy Moukarzel’s mission in life is finding new sustainable management practices to improve plant health.
Originally from Lebanon, she came to New Zealand to work towards a PhD in plant pathology and mycology, which involves researching fungi that are beneficial for New Zealand vineyards.
“My passion for this research started during my degree in agriculture engineering studies and my Master’s in sustainable plant protection, which I gained in Lebanon and Greece,” she says.
“The PhD programme at Lincoln is very enriching and has allowed me to improve myself both professionally and personally.
“It has also helped me to develop communication skills through presenting my research at local and international conferences, and I have built a lot of contacts with scientists in the field.”
Romy says her PhD study is helping her to gain extensive laboratory and field techniques in a challenging environment.
“This is paving the way for a bright future and allowing me to experience living and studying in such a beautiful country as New Zealand.”
After completing her PhD, Romy intends to pursue a career as a scientist and remain in academia.
“I know it is an extremely competitive field, but I believe that my personality, motivation and enthusiasm in research will support me to succeed in this pursuit.”
According to Romy, plant health is very important, as it supports life on the planet and helps protect the globe from greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.
“We must ensure the health of plants by integrating secure and sustainable strategies that maintain the resilience of ecosystem services,” she says. “Moreover, we rely on plants for the production and development of pharmaceuticals, which sustain people’s mental and physical health.
“Plants are healthier when they are part of a diverse ecosystem, which is key to the wellbeing of the human spirit.”