Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Geneva, New York » Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) » People » Zachary Stansell

Zachary Stansell

Research Geneticist (Plants)


Zachary Stansell

Hemp Curator

Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU)
(315) 787-2454



I am a geneticist, horticulturalist, and curator of the PGRU Vegetable and Hemp Crop Collections.

Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) was a vital agronomic crop in the U.S. and has experienced a resurgence of interest in recent years.  My goal is to conserve, maintain, evaluate, and increase hemp genetic resources, and ensure these resources are available for long-term research, education, and cultivar development.

My team follows an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the genomic and phenomic variation within our collection.

These results are used to facilitate germplasm utilization across a broad range of stakeholders via aggregation of robust phenotypic and genetic datasets

Currently, my research includes several topics:

1. Building and characterizing the world's largest public hemp genetic resource collection, with an awareness and understanding of the historical, current, and future status of hemp germplasm conservation.

2. Developing and applying phenotyping protocols to diverse hemp genetic resources and making those data publicly and freely available to the hemp community.

3. Understanding population structure within the larger pool of hemp germplasm and leveraging this knowledge to enhance conservation, mapping, and breeding efforts. 

4. Addressing bottlenecks within hemp improvement efforts by regenerating unique resources, while developing unique mapping populations that serve the broader community. 



Ph.D. in Horticulture (2020), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Master’s in Environmental Science (2014), College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics (2008), College of Charleston, Charleston, SC