2008 Corn Mother Honoree
Ivette Guzman is a plant biochemist with a life-long passion for plants and their healing, medicinal, and chemical properties. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, she emigrated to the U.S. with her family as a child. Yvette’s appreciation and respect for the healing properties of plants originated from watching her grandmother, Angela Nevarez-Gonzalez, heal others, using traditional knowledge. Her grandmother was a Mexican yerbera (herbalist) and sobadora (traditional healer) in the mountains of Durango, Mexico. Growing up in the Texas panhandle, she developed a deep respect for farming and tilling the land for food.
Her research focused on understanding medicinal compounds in horticultural crops. She led interdisciplinary research projects investigating variations in medicinal plant compounds in fruits and vegetables by chemically and genetically studying their evolutionary path. She finished her B.S. in Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and her M.S. in Biology at Texas Women’s University. She earned her Ph.D. from New Mexico State University in Plant and Environmental Sciences, where she focused on identifying metabolically diverse wild and domesticated pepper cultivars. Afterwards, she worked as a researcher at the Plants for Human Health Instituteat North Carolina State University.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi
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