What's My Story: Food Scientist

Mary Ann Lila knew she loved plants when she worked in a greenhouse in her home state of Illinois. Starting at the University of Illinois with this passion, she took every plant science class she could find. When she found out that plants make chemicals that improve the health of plants and animals alike, she found her career path. She is now the director of an institute focused on the discovery and delivery of innovative plant-based solutions to advance human health.

Decomposers At Work

Decomposers like bacteria, fungi, and scavengers break down the nutrients, energy, and matter trapped in dead plants and animal bodies and make them available to the next generation of new life. Watch how two start-up industries collaborate with decomposers to build businesses, community gardens, and volunteer communities.


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What's My Story: Biological and Agricultural Engineer

Albert Rubin is a retired biological and agricultural engineer working to restore the soil—the living skin of planet Earth. As a boy, Dr. Rubin discovered that dried sludge made the orange trees in his neighborhood bloom and bear fruit. That science experiment led to a lifetime career in soil science. Although Dr. Rubin retired from the department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NCSU in 2004, that doesn’t mean he’s not working.

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