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USDA Borlaug Fellowship

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About the Borlaug Fellowship

About the Borlaug Fellowship

VIPP is proud to support MSU colleges and departments in the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Programs. This fellowship promotes food security and economic growth by providing training and collaborative research opportunities to fellows from developing and middle-income countries. Learn more about the Borlaug Fellowship on the USDA’s website.

VIPP is committed to assisting MSU faculty who wish to host a Borlaug fellow. VIPP plays various roles in these competitive programs such as proposal and budget development, departmental liaison, logistical support, and program delivery. VIPP has collaborated with many colleges and departments at MSU including the College of Veterinary Medicine; the Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences; the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR); and the School of Journalism from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci).


Learn More and Engage

In addition to VIPP, MSU’s World Technology Access Program (WorldTAP) has hosted 45 Borlaug fellows from 17 different countries since 2005. Read more about these fellows in the WorldTap digital handbook.

If you are an MSU faculty member interested in hosting a Borlaug fellow and want to learn more about how VIPP can provide support, or if you are a scholar interested in becoming a Borlaug fellow at MSU, please  contact vipp(at)

Meet the 2022-2023 Borlaug Fellows

Meet the Borlaug Fellows

VIPP is pleased to work with the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service to host Norman E. Borlaug Fellows. During 2022-2023 VIPP welcomed fellows from the Philippines, Jordan, Algeria, and Turkey. Read about the fellows and their research plans.

Ilker Buyuk.jpgİlker Büyük, Agri-Biotechnology

Country: Turkey

Project: Genetic networks and signaling during abiotic and biotic stress responses in plants

Dr. İlker Büyük is an Associate Professor and Head of Department in the Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Biotechnology Section at Ankara University. His research focuses on molecular biology, plant stress biology, and genetics. During his time at Michigan State, Dr. Büyük will work in Dr. Brad Day's laboratory to define the transcriptome responses in plants against abiotic stress conditions including drought, salinity, and heavy metal stress, and conduct genome-wide identification and characterization of the gene families in crops such as common bean using a bioinformatic approach. His goal is to generate a plant that can survive and thrive under extreme conditions.


Project Mentor: Brad Day, Ph.D.

Dr. Brad Day is Professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Plant, Soil & Microbial Sciences; Plant Resilience Institute. The Day laboratory at Michigan State University focuses on the molecular-genetic and biochemical processes associated with the interaction between plants and pathogens. Dr. Day's research goals are to make fundamental discoveries in host-pathogen interactions, and to address key gaps in our understanding of how plants defend against pathogens.

Read more about Dr. Büyük's research and MSU experiences in the article "Twice a Global Spartan: Meet VIPP Borlaug Fellow Dr. İlker Büyük"


Errol Balagan.jpgErrol Jay Y. Balagan, Biotechnology

Country: Philippines

Project: Development of Low-cost portable Nanotech-based rapid disease detection kits for African swine fever (ASF)

Errol Jay Y. Balagan is a licensed veterinarian and currently works as an Associate Professor at Central Luzon State University in the Philippines. He took his Master of Science in Comparative Vertebrate Morphology at the University of Antwerp in Belgium and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in Austria under the Erasmus Mundus scholarship where he enjoyed and became curious about antigen-antibody interaction and its application in disease detection. He is a Borlaug Fellow at Michigan State University under the Nano-Biosensors Lab biosensor where he is being trained on biosensors for animal disease detection.

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Project Mentor: Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja

Dr. Alocilja is a professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at MSU. She is the founding program director of the Nano-Biosensors Lab, a member of the US National Academy of Inventors, and the founder of the Global Alliance for Rapid Diagnostics (GARD). One of her collaborative research activities is the development of a nano-biosensor for the rapid detection of ASF virus in various samples, including feed.



Read more about Errol's research and his experiences at Michigan State in the article "Changing the World with Rapid Diagnostics: Borlaug Fellow Works to Improve Food Safety."


MicrosoftTeams-image (25).pngMeriem Djellouli, Veterinary Medicine

Country: Algeria

Project: Epidemiological Surveillance of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Algerian Steppe in Farm Animals

Dr. Djellouli is a doctor in Veterinary Medicine at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory El Oued, National Institute of Veterinary Medicine (INMV), where she serves as acting head of the Parasitology Department. She is a Biosecurity Officer and also an International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA)-certified professional. Dr. Djellouli is currently earning a Ph.D. at Ziane Achour University, Djelfa in ecology and environment specializing in Parasitology and negative interactions, and is also a temporary lecturer at Hamma Lakhdar University, El Oued.


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Project Mentor: Dr. Ramjee P. Ghimire

Dr. Ramjee P. Ghimire holds a PhD from Michigan State University with a focus on International Agricultural Development and Program Evaluation. He currently serves as the Outreach Specialist in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and Director for the CANR WorldTAP International Short Courses in "Zoonotic Diseases" and "Food Safety". He is a 2021 recipient of the CANR Global Scholar Award for “Innovations in Agricultural Higher Education in a Global Context”. Dr. Ghimire’s work focuses on better understanding the dynamics of agricultural systems and their relationships with human and natural resources systems and fostering collaborations with national and international institutions for research, education, and outreach programs to improve and sustain those systems.

Project Mentor:  Dr. Melinda Wilkins, Associate Professor & Interim Chair, Large Animal Clinical Sciences


Abeer.jpgAbeer Aburumman, Biotechnology

Country: Jordan

Project: Genetically Engineered Products Biosafety and Regulations

Abeer Aburumman is Senior Researcher and Head of the Molecular Biology Department at the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in Jordan. Aburumman’s research interests include molecular breeding, fingerprinting, genetic diversity and genetically modified crops. Aburumman is currently earning a PhD at the University of Jordan in the Agricultural Biotechnology field majoring in “Transcriptome Analysis of Wheat Crop Under Drought Conditions”. She is the focal point of her institute in genetically engineered crops issues and a member of the National Biosafety Committee in Jordan. Combined with her work is capacity building and empowerment of undergraduate students and local communities in genetically modified crops biosafety issues through practical training at her lab and lectures in national related events.



 Project Mentor: Dr. Karim Maredia

Dr. Karim Maredia is a Professor and Senior Associate to the Dean in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University (MSU).  He serves as the Director of the World Technology Access (WorldTAP) Program. The WorldTAP is a training, capacity building and technology transfer  program in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU.


Meet Past Fellows

Meet Past Borlaug Fellows

VIPP has worked with Borlaug fellows from Vietnam, Kenya, Colombia, Jordan, Algeria, and the Philippines. Read about some of their projects:

2019: Benard Oloo and Jose María Martínez

Ben1.pngBenard Oloo

Country: Kenya

Program Dates: 2019-2021

Project: Understanding and documenting the process, best practices, and results of the safety and risk assessment of Genetically Engineered (GE) foods (maize and soy for food and feed) both grown in Kenya and imported

Dr. Oloo is a Lecturer of Food Science and Technology at Egerton University, focusing on food safety of different commodity value chains in Kenya. He is also a trainer, life coach, and author. Under the mentorship of Professor Karim Maredia and Dr. Ruth Mbabazi from MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Dr. Oloo published two peer reviewed articles in an international journal and several white papers during his fellowship at MSU. His connections with MSU have also led to participating in several project proposals, one of which was funded involving a tripartite MSU-EU (Kenya)-SVU (India) PIRA Grant, and Dr. Oloo is responsible for coordinating the Egerton University Team in this project. Dr. Oloo is also the African Global Alliance for Rapid Diagnostics (GARD) coordinator and is working with several scientists from across Africa to help connect the technologies to markets. Dr. Oloo was awarded the Early Career Award at the VIPP Alumni Awards. Watch his Alumni Award video.



Jose María Martínez

Country: Colombia

Program Dates: 2019-2021

Project: Methodological Guidelines to Assess Economic and Environmental Impacts and Crop Management for Sustainable Cacao Production


Watch Jose's Program Reflection on Youtube to hear about his experiences as a Borlaug Fellow.

2017: Thi Phuong Dung Le

Dung Le cropped.jpgThi Phuong Dung Le

Country: Vietnam

Program Dates: 2017-2019

Project: Cassava - Methods to identify crop varietal adoption and how to assess the impact of adaption of improved variety on farmer welfare

2016: Ojwang Daniel Otieno

Daniel Bio Pic1.jpgOjwang Daniel Otieno

Country: Kenya

Program Dates: 2016-2017

Project: Biotechnology innovations for mushroom spawn production and sustainability



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Engagement of Borlaug Fellows at MSU