Counting the seeds of success

28 May, 2024

A willingness to try anything and an adventurous spirit have taken Justine Braguy on a journey from plant science Ph.D. student to CEO of AI startup Thya Technology. 

Braguy came to KAUST in 2016, with a suitcase and a plan to stay for six months after starting a joint Ph.D. degree in Germany. But it was not long before she transferred her degree to Salim Al- Babili’s lab at KAUST, where she spent the next five years investigating the role of plant hormones, known as strigolactones. 

One of Braguy’s tasks was to optimize a routine experiment for her Ph.D., which required counting thousands of tiny seeds by hand — a dreary process that can easily take days. A desire to do this more efficiently led to her first encounter with AI.

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