Dr Leena Tripathi, Director of the East African hub of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), specialises in applying advanced biotechnology techniques to promote disease resistance in bananas.
In this episode of the Plant Breeding Stories podcast, Leena shares how her desire to promote human health led to plants and an impactful career in crop biotechnology. We follow her journey across countries and crops on her path to Tanzania, where she now leads research into disease resistance in banana species. Leena explains why managing diseases in bananas is particularly challenging and describes where biotechnology and traditional plant breeding methods can support development of disease-resistant varieties for both smallholder farms and commercial banana production. We also learn why fundraising challenges and regulatory hurdles can often frustrate progress.