After completing his Bachelor's degree in Biological and Chemical Sciences, Rabson Mulenga began working in 2005 as a Research Officer at the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI), in the Plant Protection and Quarantine Division. Due to his compelling research and strong leadership skills displayed throughout his professional and academic careers, he was accepted in the Spring of 2014 as a Borlaug LEAP Fellow.
As a part of the fellowship, Mr. Mulenga worked with two mentors. Both of Mr. Mulenga’s mentors are accomplished scientists and academics. Dr. James Legg of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has vast experience working with cassava viruses and aspects of Cassava Mosaic Begomovirus (CMB) whitefly vector interactions, and Dr. Olufemi Alabi of Texas A&M University, AgriLife Research and Extension Center is known as the first scientist to develop a multiplex PCR assay for the simultaneous detection of CMBs in cassava. Each mentor was committed to providing the necessary guidance to Mr. Mulenga as he studied what he hopes will eventually become the production of virus free planting materials for Zambian cassava farmers.
With support from the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship, Mr. Mulenga believed that the knowledge and experience gained through his proposed research will contribute to the attainment of a national vision of improved food security at the household level. This will hopefully be achieved through the development of reliable and robust disease diagnostic tools that can be used in early and cost effective diagnoses of CBMs in planting materials. In the future, he hopes to halt the spread of diseases and outbreaks through planting materials being supplied to farmers. Mr. Rabson completed his Master's in Crop Protection in August 2015.