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Interdepartmental Genetics

Faculty and Research


Eduard Akhunov
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1999, Institute of Genetics, Russia.
Wheat genomics and genetics, plant population genetics and molecular evolution of grass genomes, evolution of polyploid plants, genomics of adaptation to environmental stressors.

Alina Akhunova
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1998, St. Petersburg State University, Russia.
Guihua Bai
AGRONOMY. Ph.D. 1995, Purdue University.
Wheat molecular mapping, molecular marker-assisted breeding, and gene expression profiling using microarrays with an emphasis on wheat resistance to Fusarium head blight, leaf rust, and aluminum toxicity.
Nora Bello
STATISTICS. Ph.D. 2010, Michigan State University.
Statistical genetics and genomics. Development and application of statistical models to problems in agriculture and biology. Generalized linear mixed models. Hierarchical Bayesian models. Heterogeneity of variances and covariances. Multivariate linear models.
Jennifer Bormann
ANIMAL SCIENCES & INDUSTRY. Ph.D. 2004, Iowa State University.
Applied genetics of livestock; genetic relationships between economically important traits; genetics of efficiency, reproduction, and health in beef cattle; integration of genomics into selection programs.

Susan J. Brown
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1984, University of Missouri.
Developmental genetics of model insects, especially the flour beetle Tribolium.

Ming-Shun Chen
USDA-ARS & ENTOMOLOGY. Ph.D. 1991, Kansas State University.
Molecular genetics of insect parasites of plants. Functions of secreted proteins from salivary glands of the Hessian fly parasite of wheat.

Rollie J. Clem
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1994, University of Georgia.
Mechanisms by which apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is regulated at the molecular level. The function of apoptosis in antiviral defense and the methods by which viruses are able to manipulate apoptosis in their host cells for their own benefit.
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 2013, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Molecular plant-fungal interactions; epigenetics and genome evolution in plant pathogens; CRISPR-Cas development in plants and microbes.
Timothy Durrett
Biochemical mechanisms controlling oil accumulation in developing seeds. Understanding the relationship between structure and function for membrane bound acytltransferases. Developing oil seed crops useful for different industrial and biofuel applications.

John P. Fellers
USDA-ARS & PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1996, University of Kentucky.
Mapping and isolation of wheat genes in wheat for resistance to Karnal bunt, leaf rust, stem rust, scab, Septoria, Hessian fly, and viruses. We are using a genomics approach to identify new markers and expressed sequence tags for these genes.

Carolyn Ferguson
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1998, University of Texas, Austin.
Plant systematics: particularly phylogenetics and polyploidy in the genus Phlox.
Genetics and molecular biology of the septin cytoskeleton and CRISPR/Cas gene drive biotechnology.

Bernd R. Friebe
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1977, Free University of Berlin.
Cytogenetics, molecular cytogenetics, and evolution of wheat; management of wheat genetic resources, germplasm, and genetic stocks.
Allan K. Fritz
AGRONOMY. Ph.D. 1994, Kansas State University.
Wheat breeding and genetics with an emphasis on understanding biotic and abiotic factors that impact wheat production in Kansas.
Erika Geisbrecht
Biochemistry and molecular genetics in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Mechanisms of embryonic myogenesis. Formation and maintenance of muscle attachments. Identification and characterization of genes that result in myopathies. Cell signaling in development.
Revathi Govind
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 2006, Texas Tech University HSC.
Bacterial genetics, bacterial pathogenesis, molecular pathogenic microbiology, anaerobic bacterial pathogens.
Michael R. Kanost
Biochemistry of insect immune responses; Serine proteinases and proteinase inhibitors in insect hemolymph. Insect hemolymph proteins that recognize polysaccharides on the surface of pathogens. Cell adhesion in encapsulation of parasites by insect hemocytes. Biochemistry of insect cuticle sclerotization.
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 2016, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Host-microbe interaction - using 'omics' (metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) to understand host-microbe dynamics under environmental stress. Bioinformatics, microbial ecology; microbial diversity and cultivation.


John F. Leslie
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1979, University of Wisconsin.
Fungal molecular genetics. Population biology of Fusarium species and other plant pathogenic fungi.
Sanzhen Liu
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 2010, Iowa State University.
Genome assembly, comparative genomics, identification of genetic variants conferring plant disease resistance and understanding interactions between pathogens and plants.
Berlin Londono
ENTOMOLOGY, Ph.D. 2009, Tulane University
Role of immunity against arthropod salivary proteins on disease severity and transmission. Use of human antibodies elicited against Aedes, Culex and Anopheles salivary proteins as epidemiological tools for the surveillance of arthropod-vector contact as well as a measure of risk for mosquito-borne disease transmission.


Jocelyn McDonald

BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1998, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Genetic control of cell migration in development and cancer, primarily using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster.  We use live imaging, genetics, developmental biology and cell biological approaches to uncover mechanisms that control cell migration.


Beth A. Montelone
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1982, University of Rochester.
Currently NOT taking students.
DNA metabolism in yeast. Use of the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (bakers' yeast) to investigate mechanisms of spontaneous genetic changes in cells and their relationship to DNA repair systems.
Ted Morgan
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 2002, Washington State University.
Geoffrey Morris
AGRONOMY, Ph.D. 2007, University of Chicago.
Genetic dissection of adaptive traits in crops and wild relatives. Population and functional genomics of global crop diversity. Genomic approaches to crop improvement for US and international agriculture.
Brad Olson
BIOLOGY, Ph.D., 2008, Michigan State University. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 
Molecular and ecological basis of major evolutionary state transitions. Molecular and ecological basis of multicellular evolution unknown.
Sunghun Park
Role of calcium in fruit and vegetable cell physiology, enhancement of production and nutritional quality of horticultural crops.
Yoonseong Park
ENTOMOLOGY. Ph.D. 1998, University of Arizona.
Neurobiology - behavior - evolution of insect signaling peptides and their receptors. Risk assessment of the SIT (sterile insect program) transgenic conditional lethal gene.
Jesse Poland
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 2010, Cornell University.
Wheat genetics and germplasm improvement; marker technologies, association genetics and genomic selection for use in breeding. Resistance to the major nemeses of wheat; stem rust, stripe rust and leaf rust.
Megan Rolf
ANIMAL SCIENCE & INDUSTRY, Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia, 2012
Genetics and Livestock Genomics
William T. Schapaugh
AGRONOMY. Ph.D. 1979, Purdue University.
Soybean breeding and genetics.
Kathrin Schrick
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1994, University of Washington.
Molecular mechanisms underlying growth and development of flowering plants.
Stephanie Shames
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 2012, University of British Columbia.
High-throughput genetic screening approaches to investigate host-pathogen interactions. Genetic basis for host-pathogen interactions. 
C. Michael Smith
ENTOMOLOGY. Ph.D. 1976, Mississippi State University.
Mapping cereal genes for arthropod resistance, resistance gene expression.
Tesfaye Tesso
AGRONOMY. Ph.D. 2002, Kansas State University.
Richard Todd
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1998, University of Melbourne.
Fungal genetics and genomics. Molecular mechanisms of gene regulation and gene function, especially in the genetic model eukaryote Aspergillus nidulans.

Chris Toomajian
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 2002, University of Chicago.
Population and evolutionary genetics and genomics of plants and plant pathogens.
Harold N. Trick
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1995. Florida State University.
Plant tissue culture, transformation and molecular biology of wheat, soybean and corn.
Barbara Valent
PLANT PATHOLOGY. Ph.D. 1978, University of Colorado.
Molecular genetics of model plant pathogenic fungi.
Govindsamy Vediyappan
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 1994, University of Madras, India.
Pathogenic microbiology, bacterial genetics & mycology.

Stephen Welch
AGRONOMY. Ph.D. 1977, Michigan State University.
Theoretical plant modeling focusing on genotype-to-phenotype relationships in key plant traits. The specific approach utilized merges mathematical elements drawn from ecophysiological, gene network, and quantitative genetic models. Current modeling effors require high performance computing and 3D graphics.
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 2007, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Gene expression in poxvirus-infected cells; Host factors required for poxvirus replication; Poxvirus genetic engineering.
Anna Zinovyeva
BIOLOGY. Ph.D. 2007, Indiana University.
Genetic control of C. elegans development and microRNA function. Molecular mechanisms of gene expression regulation by microRNAs.