Northwestern University: Gates Cambridge Scholar looks to make better, more sustainable crops

Northwestern University alumnus Daniel Ginzburg has received a 2022 Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which identifies and supports outstanding scholars in their work to improve the lives of people across the world.

A 2013 graduate of Northwestern, Ginzburg studied Earth and Planetary sciences to better understand the fundamental processes underpinning the natural environment and how modern society has pushed those processes to the brink of collapse.

“I learned one of the greatest sources of unsustainable natural resource consumption is modern agriculture,” he said. “This was an auspicious realization, as the study of agriculture overlaps with many interesting disciplines from nutrition to environmental sustainability to biotechnology.”

I learned one of the greatest sources of unsustainable natural resource consumption is modern agriculture.”

Daniel Ginzburg
Having studied agricultural sciences as a master’s student at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ginzburg will pursue a Ph.D. in plant sciences at the University of Cambridge in England.

As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, Ginzburg will explore how plants anticipate and adapt to environmental fluctuations to learn more about breeding efficient, productive and sustainable crops.

“I’ll investigate how plant circadian biology influences growth and development,” he said. “Controlled-environment crop production has the potential to drastically lower the environmental footprint of certain crops. There’s tremendous potential in further optimizing plant growth and nutritional quality in controlled environments, both on Earth and in space. And bioengineering plant circadian clocks to these novel environmental conditions is paramount to increasing the viability and sustainability of controlled-environment crop production.”

Ginzburg will begin his time at Cambridge on Oct. 1.

At any given time, there are about 225 scholars from approximately 50 countries studying as Gates Cambridge Scholars. In all, there are more 1,700 Gates Cambridge alumni spread around the globe.

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