Meet the Researcher: Aaron Lorenz
Associate Professor, Department of Agronomy & Plant Genetics | he/him/his
Aaron Lorenz is part of an MITPPC-funded team co-led by entomologist and Extension specialist Bob Koch. Check out this profile's companion piece, "Building Resistance: The Road to Aphid-Resistant Soybean Lines in Minnesota."
Can you give a quick overview of your work with MITPPC?
Basically, we're interested in developing new soybean varieties that have aphid resistance to protect farmers' yield while minimizing insecticide applications. We're aiming for robust, stable resistance in these crop lines.
What drew you to invasive species research?
Like anybody, I would like to live in a world where we apply minimal amounts of pesticides. I grew up on a farm. Back when I was a kid, I remember my dad saying that the best option and the best solution is when you can find some sort of resistance to a pest or disease inside the seed. So we develop seed that has resistance to pests on the landscape, which are always a problem when you're planting large crops.
We could develop lines that have resistance rather than spray insecticides, and it’s good all the way around. It’s good for a farmer’s economic situation, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for human health.
What is one thing you hope people can take away from your research project by the end of it?
I hope that we have twice as many varieties available in Minnesota that have aphid resistance and good yield, that are adapted to Minnesota and that will be commercially available for people. That is the goal.
When you are not out in the field or in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
I guess I spend most of my time these days hanging out with my wife and four kids, who are 9, 6, 4 and 2. Some other things I like to do are run, bike, and hike. I also like to read and garden.
About the Author
Maggie Nesbit is a Communications Intern with the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC). She is a double major in English and Strategic Communications at the University of Minnesota. In her spare time, Maggie enjoys running, hiking, reading and spending time with friends and family. Maggie's position is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.