By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
Assistant Professor Yi Wang’s research team checks the moisture level of a dark red kidney bean field at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station, June 2020. Five varieties of dark red kidney beans are planted to research on nitrogen and water use.
Growing up in a large metropolitan area in China, Yi Wang earned her bachelor’s degree in biological science from Nanjing Agricultural University.
Wang had big shoes to fill, as her uncle, Renyi Zhang, is a distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University who earned his Ph.D. from MIT with Dr. Mario Malina, and the 1995 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry.
“Uncle Renyi encouraged me to come to the U.S. to receive higher education,” Yi says. “After getting my Ph.D. and doing some postdoc research at UW-Madison, I was offered an assistant professor position in potato physiology at the Kimberly Research and Extension Center in the University of Idaho.”
“There, I learned a lot from every facet of the largest potato production system in the country,” Yi enthuses. “I rejoined UW-Madison three years ago.”
As an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture at UW-Madison, Wang’s team members include Mack Naber, lab manager, Trevor Crosby, Ph.D. student, and Guolong Liang, Master of Science student.