Plant Physiology & Genetics Research Unit
USDA-ARS, US Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center
Post-Doctoral fellow, Pharmacology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, 1993-1996
Ph.D. Biochemistry, Louisiana State University, 1993
B.A. Chemistry, Louisiana Tech University, 1988
My research program focuses on the production of industrially important oils and biofuels in crop plants. These types of oils represent renewable, environmentally friendly sources of fuel and chemical feedstocks that are typically derived from nonrenewable petroleum. Experimental systems and approaches include the identification and functional analysis of genes involved in oil synthesis, and metabolic engineering of plants and microbes for value-added oil production. Current research efforts focus on increasing oil content in both leaves and seeds of plants, which provides opportunities for increasing oil yields in both traditional oilseed crops as well as in dedicated, non-food bioenergy crops.
Other research interests include the development of “high-throughput phenotyping” technologies, wherein a variety of sensors are mounted on carts, tractors, or drones, and then deployed over crops in the field to rapidly assess plant health. These technologies allow for the evaluation of very large and diverse populations of plants, with the end goal of identifying plant lines that maintain high yields, even under stressful field conditions such as heat and drought. Development of crops that are tolerant to environmental changes or extremes is important for securing a stable supply of food, feed, fiber, and renewable fuels and chemicals.
1. Biography (Current Page)