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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Capstone Team Wins ASABE/NABEC Undergraduate Design Competition

Sep. 5, 2023
Satvik Kethireddy and Saisiri Panjugala in Guelph

A team of Ohio State University students majoring in food, agricultural, and biological engineering (FABE) received first place in the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference's (NABEC) Undergraduate Design Competition, held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada last month. 

Satvik Kethireddy and Saisiri Panjugala represented the team, which also included FABE students Justin Davis and Cassidy Brozovich, to present their project titled, "NASA X-Hab Plant Extraction for Future Genomic Sequencing Onboard Space Flights."

The multiple semester-long project, which was a part of FABE's Capstone Design Course, focused on sequencing the DNA of various plants in space to understand DNA changes caused by spaceflight, which is vital for sustaining human food sources during long space journeys. Additionally, they worked on developing an automated plant sampling system to aid in plant disease detection, utilizing a novel DNA extraction method optimized for limited space resources. The team was advised by FABE professor Peter Ling and collaborated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

"We spent early last summer researching solutions to the problem of how we were going to process the plant material," said Satvik. "Then, as we got into the first semester,
we narrowed our scope, and then the second semester, we worked on the actual project, doing experiments and designing."

The FABE team was only one of two who presented to industry experts at the conference, which is a geographically-based community of the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE), covering the Northeast United States and Eastern Canadian Provinces. 

The team at this year's FABE Annual Student Scholarship and Awards Banquet"It definitely feels good to win because we had a lot of doubts initially about getting our design to work," said Justin. "There were a lot of problems along the way that we were able to fix and so it's great that we were able to put all the pieces together."

The team also won this year’s FABE Capstone Communicator Awards for their project presentation at the FABE Annual Student Scholarship and Awards Banquet. 

Congratulations Cassidy, Justin, Satvik, and Saisiri!