Faculty with Plant Breeding Responsibilities

Faculty are listed by College and by Department.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Jeremy Machacek
Breeder Focus Role

Crop and Soil Sciences

Brown-Guedira, Gina (USDA-ARS) Small grain genotyping laboratory, small grain germplasm introgression and breeding for disease resistance Core
Carter, Tommy (USDA-ARS) Broadening soybean genetic diversity, breeding focusing on drought tolerance and development of soyfoods Contributing
Dewey, Ralph DNA-based markers for identification and characterization of genes: soybean – seed storage, oil biosynthesis; tobacco – reduction of carcinogenic alkaloid compounds  Contributing
Dunne, Jeff Cultivar development; molecular breeding & genomics; analytics & bioinformatics Core
Fallen, Ben (USDA-ARS) Broadening soybean genetic diversity, breeding focusing on drought tolerance and development of soyfoods Core
Goodman, Major Broadening maize genetic diversity, incorporation of exotic germplasm into corn inbred lines Core
Haigler, Candace Functional genomics of cotton fiber development and cellulose synthesis in various fiber and biomass crops  Contributing
Holland, James (USDA-ARS) Maize – nature of genetic variation, gene mapping, genetic basis of resistance to ear rot fungi (Fusarium), “phenomics” Core
Hulse-Kemp, Amanda Breeder tool development through genomics and bioinformatics Core
Krakowsky, Matt (USDA-ARS) Maize – Southeast Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) project coordinator, evaluating exotic maize germplasm and broadening genetic diversity in US maize hybrids.  Core
Kuraparthy, Vasu cotton breeding and genetics and polyploid translational genomics Core
Lewis, Ramsey Tobacco breeding, molecular markers and transgenic approaches, focusing on disease resistance and reduction of carcinogens Core
Livingston, David (USDA-ARS) Studies on freezing tolerance mechanisms in winter cereals Contributing
Machacek, Jeremy Develops new soy cultivars for improved weed control; Research Assistant Core
Mian, Rouf (USDA-ARS) Improvement of soybean seed composition traits Core
Milla-Lewis, Susana Turfgrass breeding and genetics. Develop warm and cool-season grasses Core
Murphy, Paul Cultivar development of wheat, oat, and triticale, focusing on disease and insect resistance and end-use quality Core
Qu, Rongda Turfgrass improvement using genetic transformation, focusing on drought resistance, higher biofuel production in switchgrass Contributing
Rufty, Thomas Physiological and genetic factors controlling plant reponses Contributing

Entomology and Plant Pathology

Balint-Kurti, Peter (USDA-ARS) Maize – fungal resistance sources for gray leaf spot and SCLB, mode of action of quantitative resistance genes Core
Brandenburg, Rick Pest management of peanut and turfgrasses, applied insect ecology Contributing
Carbone, Ignazio Molecular population genetics and genomics of fungi Contributing
Cowger, Christina (USDA-ARS) Biology, epidemiology, and population genetics of small grain pathogens, major focus on powdery mildew of wheat Contributing
Davis, Eric Plant resistance to nematodes Contributing
Gould, Fred Pest management, strategies for developing genetic engineered crops with pest resistance Contributing
Kennedy, George Plant insect interactions, epidemiology of thrips in tomato Contributing
Marshall, David (USDA-ARS) Breeding and genetics of small grain crops, introgression of disease resistance from wild species to adapted Core
Opperman, Charles Cellular and genetic basis of nematode parasitism, development of nematode resistant transgenic plants Contributing
Ristaino, Jean Population genetics of late blight of potato and tomato Contributing
Shew, Barbara Plant disease epidemiology and pathogen biology in peanuts Contributing

Horticultural Science

Ashrafi, Hamid Genetics, genomics, and breeding of blueberry. Core
Clough, Mark Potato genetics and genomics Core
Fernandez, Gina Small fruit crop breeding – blackberries and raspberries Core
Iglesias, Carlos Director of the Plant Breeding Consortium Core
Iorizzo, Massimo Genetics, genomics, germplasm improvement and breeding of small fruits (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.) and vegetable crops.  Core
Liu, Wusheng HTranslational Genomics and Plant Bioengineering; Assistant Professor Core
Panthee, Dilip Breeding and development of tomato lines and cultivars Core
Pecota, Kenneth Sweet potato breeding and genetics Core
Qu, Luping Hops breeding and genetics Core
Ranney, Thomas Ornamental breeding, development of new nursery crops Core
Spencer, Jessica Genetics, genomics, and breeding of blueberry. Core
Wehner, Todd Cucurbit breeding and genetics – cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, and luffa gourd Core
Yencho, G. Craig Potato and sweet potato breeding and genetics, application of genomics Core

Plant and Microbial Biology

Alonso, Jose Ethylene signal transduction in Arabidopsis, characterization of Arabidopsis genome Contributing
Brown, Dennis Virus structure and assembly using electron cryo-microscopy, insect response to alphavirus infection Contributing
Franks, Robert Arabidopsis flower development; transcriptional regulation, gene regulatory networks, molecular genetics Contributing
Sederoff, Heike Redirecting carbon metabolism to increase yield Contributing
Thompson, William Molecular and cell biology of plant gene regulation, plant transgenic technologies and genetic engineering Contributing


Davis, Rick Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology Head; William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Core
Franks, Bob Department of Plant and Microbial Biology Head; Professor Core
Gower, Tom College of Natural Resources Head; Professor Core
Iglesias, Carlos Director of the Plant Breeding Consortium Core
Lommel, Steven Associate Dean for Research, plant viral mechanisms Contributing
Louws, Frank Department of Horticultural Science Head; Professor Core
Mattingly, Carolyn Department of Biological Sciences Head; Professor Core
Mullahey, Jeff Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Head Core

College of Natural Resources

Breeder Focus Role

Forestry and Enviromental Resources

Acosta, Juan Geneticist & Tree Improvement Specialist Core
Gower, Tom Department Head, forest ecosystems Contributing
Isik, Fikret Cooperative tree improvement program, quantitative genetics of loblolly pine Core
Jetton, Robert Gene Conservation and Forest entomology/pathology Core
Lopez, Juan Associate Director of Camcore, International Plantation Forestry Core
Lauer, Eddie Tree improvement specialist Core
Payn, Kitt Director of the Cooperative Tree Improvement Program, forest genetics Core
Potter, Kevin Conservation Genetics, Landscape Ecology, Forest Health, Landscape Genetics, Biodiversity, Evolutionary Ecology Core
Whetten, Ross Marker-assisted breeding in forest trees, genetic data analysis Core

College of Sciences

Breeder Focus Role

Biological Sciences / Genetics

Mattingly, Carolyn Department of Biological Sciences Head Contributing
Nielsen, Dahlia Satistical and population genetics, bioinformatics Contributing


Arellano, Consuelo Statistical consulting Contributing
Motsinger-Reif, Alison Computational genetics Contributing
Stefanski, Len Department of Statistics Head; R. A. Fisher Distinguished Professor Contributing
Thorne, Jefferey Statistical genetics and molecular evolution. Contributing
Wright, Fred Director of Bioinformatics Research Center Contributing
Zeng, Zhao-Bang Statistical analysis of genetic architecture of complex traits with applications in plant and animal breeding, methods to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) Contributing