Grad Student Profile – Luis Ibarra

Luis Ibarra is working on a PhD in Forestry and Environmental Resources under the direction of Dr. Gary Hodge in CAMCORE. His interests in forestry stem from a childhood in a forested region of the south of Chile, called Lake Region (Region de los Lagos), where is possible to see many different species of native forest, surrounded by the many lakes in that zone. Like many of us, from a young age he wanted to work outdoors, in the forests.

The educational system in Chile allowed Luis to follow his forestry interests starting at the age of 14, when he began attending a technical secondary school to become a forest technician. He then attended the Universidad Austral de Chile, in Valdivia, Chile as a forest engineering major. He did so well in his genetics courses that he was asked to be an undergraduate teaching assistant in genetics where he became more interested in forest genetics improvement. After graduating, he started to work for Bioforest, the research arm of Arauco, which is one of the largest timber companies in Chile. Working in the Genetic Division in Bioforest, in the quantitative genetics area, he designed genetic field tests, analyzed measurement data from them, estimated the breeding values of families and clones of Pinus radiata, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus nitens and the hybrid between these Eucalyptus species. To obtain more tools to analyze hybrid populations and for new challenges in genetics improvement, Luis decided to study a PhD, supported by his chief, Christian De Veer. The leader of genetics research at Bioforest, Claudio Balocchi, and some of his colleagues in his department were graduates of NC State and told him this was a great place to continue his education.

For his research project, Luis is working on the estimation of genetics parameters on hybrid populations of Pinus and Eucalyptus, developing a model to estimate breeding values between two species and then select the best hybrid crosses. He plans to return to Bioforest when he graduates.

In addition to his forestry interests, Luis plays guitar, enjoys hiking and swimming (in the ocean). He and his wife Vanessa have a three month old son.