TRAC, a collaborative effort between USD and Sanford Health, allows USD and Sanford researchers to see their research elevate from tests in a laboratory to real-world applicable technologies.

“Being a TRAC fellow had much to do with how I started thinking about my professional development and my career,” Izuegbunam said. “My interest in the agribiotech industry sparked through my interactions with scientists in the industry and customer discovery activities I did for technology development.”

TRAC pairs USD graduate students with faculty inventors and trains them to be apprentices in the development and commercialization of novel technologies through education, innovation and entrepreneurship. The program began in August 2020 and Izuegbunam was among the first cohort of TRAC students.

“The TRAC fellowship has enabled me to understand the processes involved in commercializing novel research findings or identifying a potential product or service,” Izuegbunam said. “I was trained to find resources for technology commercialization by identifying and acquiring funds to accelerate technology development. I have a better grasp of the agribusiness space and how to write business plans.”

In her new role at Bayer Crop Science – which she will begin this month – Izuegbunam will work on a team involved in transient transformation and protein expression in pollen from plants. She will also be involved in qualitative and quantitative data analysis and interpretation in collaboration with other teams and scientists.

“TRAC enabled better science communication and guidance on approaching and talking to industry scientists,” Izuegbunam said. “Being a scientist at TRAC allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and gain experience that boosted my professional development.

“TRAC has also allowed me to teach as well as learn from others,” she added. “I am able to approach how I think about my research applications and career development with more knowledge and exposure to the business and technology transfer world.”

Learn more about TRAC.

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