Rishikesh Bhalerao, Sara Raggi with her certificate in the hand and Joanna Porankiewicz-Asplund standing beside each other in front of a Christmas treeSara Raggi (middle) receives the UPSC Agrisera Prize 2022 from Rishikesh Bhalerao (left), vice-chairman of the UPSC Board, and Joanna Porankiewicz-Asplund from Agrisera (right) (photo: Stéphanie Robert)

Today, Sara Raggi, postdoc in Stéphanie Robert’s group, was awarded with the UPSC Agrisera Prize 2022. She is acknowledged for her significant scientific contributions to plant cell and developmental research and her commitment to create a positive and collaborative work environment at UPSC. The prize was handed over during the traditional UPSC Christmas lunch by Rishikesh Bhalerao, vice-chairmen of the UPSC Board, and Joanna Porankiewicz-Asplund from Agrisera.

Sara Raggi started to work as postdoc in Stéphanie Robert’s group at UPSC in 2016 after finishing her PhD. She was involved in several scientific projects and is co-author of several articles. One of her main projects was to develop an automated method to measure the angle of unbending Arabidopsis seedlings after germination. This method uses machine learning as basis for the image analysis and was done together with an engineering master student who Sara supervised. Two publications from this project are currently in preparation.

Besides her scientific achievements, Sara Raggi has been actively engaged in improving the work environment at UPSC. She was postdoc representative, member of the greenhouse introduction team and helped with outreach events. She took over responsibilities in different groups at UPSC, like for example the gardening group which set up boxes to grow vegetables in front of UPSC and the “Greener UPSC” group that aims on promoting sustainability at UPSC, and helped to organize social events.

The UPSC Board received this year eleven nomination letters for seven candidates. The selection of Sara was based on the letters nominating Sara Raggi which emphasized Sara Raggi’s teamwork skills, her scientific excellence and her contribution to making UPSC a great place to work. Every year anyone working at UPSC can nominate a colleague for the prize, a travel voucher sponsored by Agrisera. Based on the written nomination the members of the UPSC board voted to select the recipient of the prize.

“The prize gives us the opportunity to thank our personnel for their work and commitment. It is always very difficult to choose between the candidates as they all highly deserve of this prize,” says Rishikesh Bhalerao who announced the winner of the prize this year.