Dr. Satya Swathi Nadakuduti is the newest faculty member in the Department of Environmental Horticulture at UF/IFAS. Dr. Nadakuduti has a passion for plants and her mission is to learn and teach about the benefits they offer both medicinally and therapeutically.
Recently Dr. Nadakuduti was a recipient of a SEEDIT (Support for Emerging Enterprise Development Integration Teams) grant allowing her to research the anti-cancer properties of the Florida native ornamental, Scutellaria. We are happy and honored to have Dr. Nadakuduti join us in our mission to improve the human environment and protect the natural landscape through the use of plants.
When did you know you wanted to pursue horticulture as a career choice?
Love for plants dates back to my childhood when I use to sow different kinds of seeds and watch them germinate and feel happy. Choosing horticulture as a profession came along after my high school. I was certain I want to study life sciences and preferably plants. I am really glad I made this career choice of studying plants, they are amazing!!
Why did you choose to focus on Environmental Horticulture?
Environmental horticulture is a blend of plant cultivation and improvement while enhancing the quality of life and the environment. I am especially interested in improving quality of human life by studying medicinal plant species and their derived chemistry.
What do see as the future of Environmental Horticulture?
With the challenges surrounding climate change and need for sustainability and biodiversity, I see Environmental Horticulture to play a big role in future. I also foresee collaborative nature of work between environmental horticulturists and various other disciplines including health experts, sociologists, architects and climate scientists.
What is your field of research in Environmental Horticulture?
Our planet Earth is home to estimated 350,000 plant species. There is enormous chemical diversity in these plant species, which mainly comes from specialized metabolites selected throughout the course of evolution. Plant specialized metabolism has been harnessed for various purposes including food/agriculture, traditional and modern medicine out of many others. Our lab is interested exploring medicinally relevant Florida native species for the discovery of plant specialized metabolites of pharmaceutical value and understand the chemical diversity of medicinal compounds and molecular mechanisms underlying their biosynthesis.
Aside from horticulture, what other interests do you have?
My interests revolve around food and plants. I enjoy gardening, especially growing my own produce from home kitchen garden and love to cook various vegetarian foods. I also love to sing and listen to Indian classical music and practice yoga when I have time!!
Are you new to our beautiful state? If so, what do you think of Florida?
I am new to living in Florida, although I visited South Florida many times for holiday. I am really liking Gainesville so far. I am learning about the diverse vegetation here and developing new interests in growing Florida native species