Research Geneticist (Plants)
The major focus of the laboratory is geared toward:
- Molecular analysis of disease response mechanisms in plants with particular emphasis on sugar beet
- Isolation and characterization of resistance genes for development of effective molecular approaches for control of diseases caused by major pests (sugar beet root maggot) and pathogens (Cercospora)
- Molecular reconstruction of beneficial genes for proper in planta expression
- Modulation of plant secondary metabolic pathways via expression of cytochrome P450 transgenes and their effect on disease development
- Exploitation of the sugar beet taproot as a possible source of value added products (biofuels, pharmaceuticals, insecticidal compounds)
The basic and applied components of the research program are directed at developing gene transfer, tissue culture and molecular marker strategies to introduce disease and insect resistance genes into sugar beet in order to increase sugar yields and decrease the use of environmentally damaging pesticides.