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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Welcome to the Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Unit

The Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Unit (PSNRU) is located at the Robert W. Holley Research Center for Agriculture and Health (RHRC) on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. It is one of over 100 ARS laboratories located throughout the United States. The original mission of the PSNRU when it was established in 1940 was to conduct research at the interface of human nutrition and agriculture to improve the nutritional quality and health promoting properties of food crops. This is still one of several important research goals for the PSNRU. Other major research programs in the PSNRU involve:

Robert W. Holley
Research Center for Agriculture and Health
Tower Road, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607 255 4549
FAX: 607 255 2459
  • Improving crop mineral nutrition and plant tolerance to mineral and metal-related stresses in the soil.
  • The use of genomics, proteomics, molecular genetics and computational biology to dissect complex traits in plants and identify the genes and mechanisms underlying these
  • Integrating computational biology and bioinformatics with genomic and genetic-based methodologies to model and better understand gene regulatory circuitry at the cellular level.

The laboratory has a strong national and international reputation for its work on crop nutritional quality and the bioavailability of essential minerals for humans, plant mineral nutrition, and the use of genomics/computational approaches to provide the fundamental information needed for crop improvement. An obvious highlight for the laboratory and USDA-ARS was the awarding of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Dr. Robert W. Holley for his research conducted at the RHRC resulting in the determination of the first nucleotide sequence for a nucleic acid. Dr. Holley (pictured at right) is the only USDA scientist to receive a Nobel Prize.

Dr. Robert Holley
Nobel Prize Winner

Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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