College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Plants, Soils, and Climate Department
Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor of the Year
Dr. Amita Kaundal came from the beautiful northern Himalayan state of India. She received a prestigious Junior/Senior research fellowship from CSIR India and finished her Ph.D. from IMTECH-CSIR, Chandigarh, working on antibiotic resistance in the human pathogen Vibrio Cholerae. After taking a short break of four years to raise her son, she moved to the United States and obtained experience in Plant-Microbe interaction, ABA signaling, drought, and salinity stress in plants at various labs. Being a teacher's daughter, her mother instilled the value of education in her, ""not only to earn a livelihood but to enlighten yourself with the light of knowledge and give it back to society and educate the coming generations."" In 2019 she moved to Utah State University as a faculty member in the Plants, Soils, and Climate department. She set up a multidisciplinary lab to develop stress-resilient crops for sustainable agriculture. She developed a robust undergraduate research program in her lab and mentored 21 undergraduate students after coming to USU. Students are encouraged to present at USU Fall/spring research symposiums, ROCH, UCUR, and NUCR, apply for URCO grants, and write manuscripts. Dr. Kaundal's mission is to create scientists, not technicians, in her lab.