Plant Sciences Faculty Receives Career Achievement Award
North Dakota State University professor Marisol Berti was awarded the 2021 A.E. Thompson Career Achievement Award by the Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC). The award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of industrial crops and products throughout their career. A virtual awards ceremony was held during the 2021 AAIC annual conference.
During the ceremony, Berti was commended for her research, which has helped advance the knowledge and characterization of industrial crops and contributed to the development of sustainable cropping systems. Also mentioned was her academic mentorship, which has helped educate and develop the next generation of scientists and researchers of industrial crops.
“Receiving the A.E. Thompson award from AAIC is a great honor,” says Berti. “I attended my first AAIC conference in 1992 when I received the Graduate Student of the Year Award for my research in new crops at NDSU.”
Berti has been a member of the AAIC for 30 years and has served as president, division chair, conference organizer, and editor-in-chief of the Industrial Crops and Products Journal. She says the members “became my extended family over the years.”
Over the course of her career, Berti has researched over 150 different crops including pseudocereals, oilseeds, medicinal plants, forages, energy crops, and cover crops.
Berti’s influence in the advancement of industrial crops transcends geographic borders. Her research in the integration of energy crops and cover crops into existing cropping systems has been applied in many European countries. She has led national and international research teams to address various aspects of field crop management, develop sustainable cropping systems, and phenotype crops for agriculturally important traits. She also has been the Principle Investigator or the Co-PI on national and international collaborative research grants adding up to approximately $7.9 million.
Her work has resulted in 84 peer-reviewed publications, 26 proceeding publications, 220 conference and symposium presentations, and 50 Extension or magazine publications.
Berti earned her B.S. in agronomy from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, and her M.S. in crop production and Ph.D. in plant sciences from NDSU. She worked 15 years at the University of Concepcion in Chile before joining NDSU in 2009, where she is a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and leads the forages and biomass crop production project. She works to improve forage production practices, introduce biomass crops for bioenergy production, and evaluate the impact that annual and perennial forages used in intercropping, as cover crops, and as living mulches have on crop productivity and soil quality in North Dakota.
During her career, Berti has mentored 116 undergraduate students, 19 graduate students, three postdoctoral research fellows, and served on many graduate thesis committees. She teaches courses in forage production, sugarbeet production, and professional development and has led a study abroad course on sustainable agriculture and renewable energies in Europe.
“It has been a very satisfactory career and I still have many years to continue to contribute to science and agriculture in North Dakota and elsewhere,” says Berti.