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Maize; Virology; Agriculture; Department of Plant Sciences; School of Biological Sciences

Luke Braidwood is a PhD student at the Department of Plant Sciences and a member of the Cambridge Global Food Security Strategic Research Initiative. He has also co-founded the Cambridge Food Security Forum, a student-led body focusing on global food security.

Luke works collaboratively with Kenyan researchers at Kenyatta University and KALRO on the aggressive maize disease Maize lethal necrosis (MLN), focusing on the biology of the viruses involved and engineering maize resistant to MLN.

Luke's research can positively impact the lives of the world’s poorest 3 billion people given its direction into producing part of the solution to MLN in sub-saharan Africa, where it is spreading rapidly. MLN caused the loss of 23% of Kenya's maize crop in 2013, and causes heavy yield loss for smallholders in heavily affected areas. 

Luke finds “The One-Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka - which focuses on lowering (expensive) modern agricultural inputs often not affordable to resource-poor farmers’s – aligned with his motivation to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through the participation in the Global Challenges Forum.


Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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