Meet Jayanti Suresh

February 23, 2024

Meet the many integral members of the department and learn about their horticultural career journey in our series, This is my Hort-Story

Jayanti Suresh

Current job title: Research Scientist 
Current lab/team: Hegeman Lab
How long you’ve worked in the Department of Horticultural Science: 11 years in the Department of Horticultural Science (39 years total at the university)
Pronouns: She/her/hers

The thing that brought me to a career in horticulture was… 

Growing up in central India, I was surrounded and inspired by tropical fruits and flowers. My father was a civil engineer, building dams for irrigating fields. I have fond memories of playing in the rice fields and marveling at the plants growing out of water. I decided to study biology and chemistry in my undergraduate program in the newly created Department of Biochemistry at Nagpur University in India. I always enjoyed biochemical pathways and decided to continue my studies by pursuing a masters degree in biochemistry. After school, I came to the Twin Cities in 1982 to work for a company developing an enzymatic assay strip test kit for urine analysis. I quickly learned that corporate culture was not my cup of tea so I decided to apply to research positions at the University of Minnesota. I spent 28 years working with Dr. Ron Philips on corn genetics as a research scientist in The Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. After Dr. Philips retired, I transitioned to the Department of Horticultural Science in 2013 as a researcher working in the Hegeman Lab, where I continue to work today!

The most enjoyable/rewarding part of my work is…

The most rewarding part of my job is working with students as they work on their degrees, especially the PhD candidates. The years of interaction with students creates a bond and to see them graduate with their degrees is very rewarding. For the past 5 years, I have also enjoyed channeling the fruit and vegetable products that grad students generate with their hard work to a food shelf which serves the community at large and helps prevent food waste.

My favorite thing about working in the department is…

The Department of Horticultural Science is a very nice place to work with a good balance of intellectual interactions and fun-filled activities. I get to do research, bond with students, and interact with most of the department personnel. Add in the field work, and I cover the whole 9 yards! I also host an annual sweet corn feed at the Plant Growth Facilities to bring together our friends in Horticulture and Agronomy. It’s a great opportunity to connect with people and enjoy the corn harvest! 

When I’m not working you can find me…

Biking, watching movies, and traveling.