Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Leah Treffer

Post-Baccalaureate Researcher, Crop Protection Genetics

Leah Treffer is from Nebraska where she earned a BS in Biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a chemistry minor.

What work experiences on your resume are most relevant to your position at TLI? How so?
Most recently, I did undergraduate research at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although this research was in an animal science lab, I learned lab skills that are applicable in any research setting. I focused on genetics, mitochondrial lineage and variants. I also have experience in this lab with cell culture. In addition to a variety of lab skills, I also learned about analysis and presenting research findings which will be useful later on in this research position. I have been a teaching assistant at Nebraska Wesleyan where I cultured bacteria for a bacteriophage lab class and demonstrated sterile lab techniques to students. This improved more lab skills and introduced me to another study organism. I also think growing up helping with my family’s ranch is relevant to how much we are outside doing work at The Land Institute.


What’s most inspiring about your specific position at TLI?
What inspires me is being able to study traits, such as resistance, that are evolutionary results. Genetics is so interesting to me and this position is using genetics to study traits in the plants being bred here. I’m inspired by the possibility of using naturally evolved resistance to strengthen perennial crops. This position emphasizes education and learning which is an aspect I’m very excited about as well.

What drew you to work at TLI?
There are several things about current treatment of land and modern consumption that bother me. I admire the purpose and work of The Land Institute and was drawn to the chance to be a part of their work. I wanted to learn up-close about sustainability and polyculture research. Many times, modern science is focused solely on inventing something new. At The Land Institute, there is a chance to harness natural, already existing resources to address the need for a more sustainable system. I was interested in their important use of science. 

What’s one aspect of your life history that most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?
I have had the opportunity to visit eight countries. Past travels have made me interested in history and anthropology along with wanting to travel more in the future.

What else are you passionate about (outside of work)?
I really love to run! I ran on my college team and am still passionate about running and enjoy finding scenic trails.

Support the work of Leah and others at The Land Institute with a donation.


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