Ambar Carvallo Lopez

Graduate Student - Dawson Lab


Julie Dawson

Research Focus

Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics PhD


Quilpue, a small town in the central region of Chile

Where did you complete your undergraduate/master’s/PhD?

I did my undergrad at PUCV, Chile, and majored in Agronomy and Horticulture

What is your research about and what is the impact? How does it relate to the horticulture industry, what is the goal?

I work in a tomato breeding program that is focused on developing improved tomato varieties that are adapted for organic production in the Upper Midwest. Currently, organic farmers use seed that is bred for conventional farming (e.g. that relies on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides), and these varieties don’t perform as well in organic systems. We carry out on-farm trials where farmers get to evaluate some of the breeding lines that we are working on, which gives us valuable information on what works and what doesn’t work for their farming systems.

Why did you choose UW-Madison? What is your favorite part of Madison?

My first filter was finding a place that stood up in the agriculture area, and UW-Madison checked that box. I then researched the different labs and current work being done, and that caught my attention, specifically the work and research that my lab dedicates to.

My favorite part of Madison is all of its bike paths, there are so many of them that can take you out of the city in just 20 minutes!

What inspires you to do the work you do?

In one word, sustainability. I strongly believe that agriculture has to move forward to a more sustainable production system, and that can happen in multiple aspects of it, from seed breeding and production to the growing process and later distribution.