Dennis Gonsalves

Dennis Gonsalves

Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology


Cornell University

Hilo, HI USA


Don't just be a test tube scientist—if you have the opportunity, do something to help people.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Dennis Gonsalves

Highlight
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Dennis Gonsalves HighlightInterview Highlight
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InterviewThe Interview
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In The End It's What You ScoreWeb Exclusive
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The Moment Of TruthWeb Exclusive
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No Ambition To Be A ScientistInterview Excerpt
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Do Something To Help PeopleInterview Excerpt
Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from the University of Hawaii, he originally just wanted to find a job.
He was hired as a technician on Kauaʻi, and his boss showed him a virus he suspected was developing on the papaya plants.
With no preparation—aside from one plant pathology class he’d taken in college—he was tasked with identifying the virus.
He checked out books on plant pathology and spent nine months studying the virus; during that time, he got hooked.
He decided curing this virus would become his life’s work; he went back to school to earn his Ph.D. in plant pathology.
As he further researched the virus, it started rapidly spreading and threatening the livelihood of Hawaii’s papaya farmers.
Eventually, he genetically engineered the "Rainbow" papaya to be resistant to this devastating papaya ringspot virus.
Rainbow papayas now make up over 75 percent of Hawaii's papayas; he’s largely credited with saving the industry in the state.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Horticultural Science
University of Hawaii at Manoa
graduate
Graduate
Plant Pathology/Phytopathology
University of Hawaii at Manoa
doctorate
Doctorate
Plant Pathology/Phytopathology
University of California-Davis
Career

Career

Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology

I am a retired plant pathologist that developed the Rainbow, a GMO papaya resistant to viruses.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Science
Science
Environment & Nature
Environment & Nature
Helping People
Helping People

Day to Day

I investigate plant diseases and I specialize in identifying and treating plant viruses.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You need to have a passion for science. Do something to help people.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Do well in undergraduate study so you can get into graduate school.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Horticultural Science
graduate
Graduate
Plant Pathology/Phytopathology
doctorate
Doctorate
Plant Pathology/Phytopathology
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"Don't be a test tube scientist."

Challenges I Overcame

Physical Issues
First-Generation College Student