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Women in Science: Vlog with Janine Maruschak

February 2020

This month's International Year of Plant Health theme is all about seeds! Our own Janine Maruschak knows a thing or two about testing grain shipments to help keep invasive pests at bay. Watch her vlog for a look inside our Saskatoon Lab.

Women in Science: Vlog with Janine Maruschak – Transcript

Janine Maruschak
Section Head, Saskatoon Laboratory, CFIA

My name is Janine Maruschak. I work for the Seeds Science and Technology Section in the Saskatoon lab of CFIA. I'm the Section Head.

I've always been interested in science. I grew up in Saskatchewan on a farm and was surrounded by agriculture and nature, plants and always had a great appreciation for that.

We test samples from shipments of grain and seed to determine the quality and detect weed species of concern.

Many countries regulate plant species as pests. They declare these plant species as weeds and try and keep them out of their country, or limit the distribution within their country.

So that's one of the things that we do, is test imported seed to ensure that the seeds of plant species that are invasive, that we've declared as pests, are not entering Canada.

We rely a lot on our analysts and technicians, our scientists' skills in identifying weed seeds by looking at the physical features. But we are also using some new technology, using computer vision, even artificial intelligence to help us detect weed seeds and identify them more quickly or differentiate weed seeds that are very difficult to tell apart.

These pieces of equipment are some of the new technology that we're exploring for seed imaging. This uses multispectral imaging to take pictures of seeds for detection and identification.

It's a privilege to be able to work with many staff of different expertise, come from different backgrounds with different experience and have skill sets to do the work that we do.

[End of recording]

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