Projects in the lab

Note to undergraduates & others wanting research experience:
We welcome undergraduate students who want to do independent research for credit. Check out a few examples of the students who have done research in the lab. We also welcome summer interns and visiting scientists

Current research:

DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI)
As part of the CBI Feedstock Development group, we are

  • Increasing the efficiency of switchgrass transformation and gene editing
  • Helping to test genes that affect biomass conversion

DOE BioPoplar
As part of the BioPoplar Initiative, we are

  • Identifying a genomic safe harbor
  • Developing a landing pad for targeted insertion of genes of interest

Soybean insect resistance
The overall goal is to identify and determine the function of insect-resistance genes in soybean, and to deploy these in breeding programs

  • We have identified 1 gene and 3 QTLs that condition for insect resistance
  • The major QTL has been cloned

Soybean transformation & gene-editing

Some previous projects:

Transposon mutagenesis in soybean
Using the rice mPing element in soybean

Ornamental white clover
Although white clover is used almost exclusively as a forage, various highly attractive mutants are known. When combined together, white clover also has potential as an ornamental species.

  • The genetic control of many traits is known; for others it is not
  • We are trying to determine the genetic control of those traits for which the genetics are currently unknown
  • See some results

Production of specialty carotenoids in soybean

Several animals depend on naturally occurring carotenoids in their diet. These carotenoids can be important to animal health, but also contribute to animal products that are visually appealing to consumers. When raised in captivity, animals do not have access to their normal dietary carotenoids; consequently, these same carotenoids must be supplied in their diets. Yet, dietary supplementation with carotenoids does not come cheap, and can account for 15-25% of total feed costs. The most cost-economical way to incorporate these natural carotenoids back into the animal diets would be by producing them in the soybean used as feed for them.