“#IAmScience because I want to discover how plants decide what to store in their seeds.”
The family garden doesn’t typically turn into a life-long journey of studying plants. But when Eric Fedosejevs went to college, the native Canadian found that plants naturally made sense when deciding what to do with his life.
“Growing up, we always had a big garden with a lot of vegetables,” Fedosejevs said. “And with the ever-present need to increase food supply and address world hunger, combined with the innovation in plant-based technologies, there seemed like a lot of potential in plant biology.”
As a postdoc in Jay Thelen’s lab in Bond LSC, Fedosejevs has gone from longtime student to full-time researcher.
“A major focus of the Thelen lab is to look at oil biosynthesis in developing seeds,” Fedosejevs said.
Specifically, Fedosejevs works with soybean, which is a key crop in the United States because it has such a high protein content. But oil production suffers because of the high protein and his focus is looking at altering that part of the seed.
“The oil content of soybean is not as high as most oil seeds,” Fedosejevs said. “The goal of my project is to boost that content without causing any significant decrease to the valuable protein.”
In his role as a postdoc, Fedosejevs has the freedom to do what he loves with the guidance of an established researcher in Thelen.
“This experience has been great,” Fedosejevs said. “Jay gives a lot of research freedom to his postdocs, so I’ve been able to bring many of my own ideas into my project. I appreciate that a lot.”
When he’s not in the lab working on soybeans, Fedosejevs can be found reading about anything that piques his interest.
“I can spend a whole day reading about a topic I know nothing about,” Fedosejevs said.
It is that dedication to learning that landed him in academia, and it’s also what guided him to a career as a researcher. Fedosejevs, however, believes that genuine curiosity is the foundation for being successful in science.
“If you have that mindset and you find a research area you’re also passionate about, a postdoc is very much something to look forward to,” Fedosejevs said.
He’s able to focus all of his energy on his work, and he loves it.
“I’m really happy coming to work and doing research every day.” Fedosejevs said. “I’m going to keep doing that for as long as I can.”