Meet Sanket - Student Spotlight

Meet Sanket - Student Spotlight

Meet Sanket Shinde, an Entomology Ph.D. student from Washim, Maharashtra, India.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Name: Sanket Shinde

Hometown: Washim, Maharashtra, India

Graduate Program: Ph.D. Student

Expected Date of Graduation: May, 2025


Why did you choose the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

I chose the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because of its exceptional program in Agricultural Sciences, especially in Entomology. The reputation of UNL's education system, consistently ranked among the top, affirmed my decision. Additionally, the supportive faculty was a crucial factor for me. Knowing that I would have mentors who are genuinely invested in my success and development made UNL the perfect choice for me.


Why did you decide to pursue a Graduate Degree? Why entomology?

Coming from an agricultural family background, my decision to pursue a career in agriculture was deeply rooted in my upbringing and experiences. Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the challenges and complexities faced by farmers in ensuring crop productivity and sustainability. Pursuing a graduate degree allows me to develop specialized expertise, critical thinking skills, and the ability to tackle complex problems.

As for why entomology specifically, my interest in entomology stems from a fascination with the intricate and diverse world of insects. I've always been intrigued by their biology, behavior, and ecological roles. Entomology offers a unique intersection of various disciplines such as biology, ecology, and agriculture. Throughout my academic journey, I have been driven by a desire to find innovative solutions to these pressing agricultural challenges. By pursuing a graduate degree in entomology, I aim to deepen my understanding of insect biology, ecology, and behavior, which are essential for developing effective pest control measures. Additionally, I am eager to explore cutting-edge research in crop genetics, biotechnology, and breeding techniques to enhance crop resilience and productivity in the face of environmental stressors.


What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why?

My favorite class thus far has been Insect Physiology taught by Professor Troy Anderson. This course introduced me to the fascinating world of insects and their intricate physiology in a way that was both engaging and enlightening. Through Professor Anderson's dynamic teaching style and depth of knowledge, I gained a profound appreciation for the remarkable adaptations and physiological mechanisms that enable insects to thrive in diverse environments.

My favorite part of the course was undoubtedly the group discussions on various studies conducted within the field of insect physiology. These discussions provided an invaluable opportunity to exchange ideas, share insights, and gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter from diverse perspectives. Moreover, Professor Anderson's enthusiasm for the subject was contagious, instilling in me a newfound passion for insect physiology. Learning about the incredible resilience, metabolic efficiency, and sensory capabilities of insects opened my eyes to the complexity and importance of these tiny organisms in the broader ecosystem.


What is the topic of your thesis/project? What interested you in this topic?

The topic of my thesis/project revolves around uncovering the genetic mechanisms that contribute to sorghum's resistance against fall armyworm (FAW) infestation. This research is motivated by the critical importance of sorghum as a staple crop for global food security and the significant threat posed by FAW infestations, which can drastically reduce sorghum yields. What interests me about this topic is the opportunity to delve into the intricate interactions between plants and insect pests, and to elucidate the molecular pathways that govern plant defenses against herbivory. By combining transcriptomic, metabolomic, genomic, and proteomic approaches, I aim to decipher the transcriptional networks, identify key defense metabolites, and characterize FAW-induced cues that trigger sorghum's defensive responses.

Through this research, I hope to contribute to the development of FAW-resistant sorghum varieties, thereby mitigating yield losses and reducing the reliance on toxic pesticides. Moreover, by gaining insights into sorghum's stress physiology and its response to biotic stressors like FAW infestation, we can inform strategies for sustainable agriculture and bolster food production in the face of climate change.


What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, my plan is to use the knowledge and skills I've acquired to pursue a career in the agricultural sector. I am deeply passionate about applying my expertise to addressing key challenges facing agriculture, particularly in the realm of pest management and crop improvement. One avenue I am considering is pursuing a role in agricultural research and development, where I can contribute to the development of innovative solutions to enhance crop productivity, sustainability, and resilience. Whether it's through conducting research on novel pest control strategies, optimizing crop breeding techniques, or implementing precision agriculture technologies, I am eager to make a meaningful impact on the agricultural industry.


What do you like to do in your free time? Are you involved in any clubs/organizations on campus?

In my free time, I enjoy engaging in a variety of activities that allow me to unwind and explore my interests. I have a passion for cooking, dancing, and watching TV, which are all great ways for me to relax and have fun. However, one of my favorite hobbies is art, particularly sketching bugs. Since joining the entomology department, I've found immense joy in capturing the intricate details of insects through my sketches, and it's been a rewarding way for me to combine my love for art with my fascination for entomology.

Aside from my artistic pursuits, I am actively involved in clubs and organizations on campus that have enriched my college experience and provided opportunities for both personal and professional growth. As a member of the Bruner Entomology Club within the department, I've had the chance to connect with fellow entomology enthusiasts, participate in engaging activities and events, and expand my knowledge of insect science.

Additionally, I serve as the Vice President of the Indian Students Association on campus. In this role, my goal is to promote and share Indian culture through various events, festival celebrations, and community outreach initiatives. As an international student, being part of this organization has allowed me to connect with other students from similar backgrounds, celebrate our cultural heritage, and foster a sense of belonging within the campus community.