Current and Recent Students

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Current Students | Recent Alumni

Current Students

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AL-MALIKI, Hadeel

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: Joan Bennett
Advisor: Joan Bennet
Email: aldeel.almaliki@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall 291-A
Tentative Thesis Title: Toxigenic Effects of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) produced by human fungal pathogens

Photo: Al-Maliki, Hadeel

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BABIEZ, Mary

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: Ann Gould
Email: mary.babiez@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location:Foran Hall - 204

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BIAN, Chao

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Juan Dong
Email: chao.bian@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Waksman Building, BUSCH Campus
Tentative Thesis Title: Signaling events in stomatal development and patterning.
Research Interests: Focused on the molecular model of asymmetric cell division and its regulation mechanism, by using the stomatal lineage in Arabidopsis as a model system.

Photo: Chao Bian

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BRINDISI, Lara

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Advisor: James Simon
Email: lara.brindisi@rutgers.edu
Phone Number: 848-932-6303 or 848-932-6391
Research Interests: Ethnobotany, medicinal plants, restoration ecology, and sustainable agriculture

Photo: Lara Brindisi

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David Byrnes

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: James Simon
Email: drbyrnes@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 391A
Research Interests: Crop Improvement, international development, suppy/value chain, post-harvest procedures, new use applications, medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry, economics.
Tentative Thesis Title: Selection of Vegetable Amaranth for High Yield, Multiple Harvests, High Nutrition and Minimal Antinutritive Components


Photo: David Byrnes

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CHANG, Xiaqian 'Ivy'

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: James White
Email: ivy.chang@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 204
Tentative Thesis Title: Application of bacteria from wild grass to promote plant growth and nutrition

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CHAPMAN, Cathryn

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Bingru Huang
Email: cathryn.chapman@rutgers.edu
Lab Location: Foran Hall - 301
Tentative Thesis Title: Evaluating drought stress tolerance and post-drought recovery mechanisms in cool-season turfgrass. Research Interests: Cathryn Chapman's research focuses on drought stress tolerance and post-drought recovery in cool-season turfgrass species. She is evaluating the effects that plant-health products can have on improving turfgrass performance during periods of drought and how they may help the turf recover once it is re-watered. She is also studying the interactive effects of drought and elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide on the meristematic growing points of turfgrass species.

Photo: Cathryn Chapman

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Chen, Hui 'Eric'

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: James Murphy
Email: hc508@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 287
Tentative Thesis Title: Mechanisms of Traffic Tolerance of Fine Fescues

Photo: Hui Chen

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Chen, Qiang 'Richard'

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology/Plant Pathology
Advisor: James White
Email: qc32@rutgers.edu
Phone Number: 848-932-6264 or 848-932-6315
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 187
Tentative Thesis Title: Seed Transmitted Bacterial Edophytes from Cool Season Turfgrasses Benefit Hosts by Providing Nutrients and Producing Antagonistic Compounds

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Kuan Yu Cheong

Degree Sought:
Research Interests: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Paul Falkowski -
Email: kc702@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Marine Science Building
Tentative Thesis Title:

Photo: Kuan Yu Cheong

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Chu, Philomena

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Eric Lam
Email: pchu@eden.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location:Foran Hall - 216

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DADDIO, Ryan

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: William Meyer
Email: rmd@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 187
Tentative Thesis Title: Improving the Efficiency of Kentucky Bluegrass Breeding

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D'AMICO, Frank

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Email: frank.damico@fmc.com

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DIEHL, Katherine

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: TRACK NAME
Advisor: Matthew Elmore -
Email: khd39@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 287

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DONDERALP, Veysel

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Thomas Orton -
Email: veysel.donderalp@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 204

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ENGEL, Peninah

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Thomas Molnar
Email: Peninah.feldman@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 178
Tentative Thesis Title: Sustainable production of improved hazelnut in New Jersey

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ENGLISH, Camille

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: James White
Email: c.english@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 273
Research Interests: Plants and Human Health
Tentative Thesis Title: Vertically transmitted bacterial endophytic effects on natural product concentrations in Apiaceae family.

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ERRICKSON, William

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Bingru Huang
Email: Wje10@sebs.rutgers.edu

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FARDELLA, Patrick

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: Donald Kobayashi -
Email: Paf107@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 337
Research Interests: Bacterial/fungal interactions, plant pathogens
Tentative Thesis Title: Fungal Innate Immunity

Photo: Patrick Fardella

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FONG, Stephanie

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Nicholi Vorsa
Email: Steph.fong@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 378
Tentative Thesis Title: The Genetic Basis of Cranberry Chemistry

Photo: Stephanie Fong

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GANDLER, Michael

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Advisor: Thomas Molnar
Email: m.gandler@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 178

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GENOVA, Kyle

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: James Murphy
Advisor: Bruce Clarke
Email: kyle.genova@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 287

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Sarah Gilbert

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Research Interests: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Eric Lam
Email: seg163@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 216
Tentative Thesis Title: Characterizing duckweed associated bacteria based on auxin production and gene expression for understanding the mechanism of plant growth promotion and endophytic attachment in aquatic and land plants.

Photo: Sarah Gilbert

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GRIMSHAW, Austin

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Stacy Bonos
Advisor: William Meyer
Email: a.grimshaw@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 187
Tentative Thesis Title: Evaluation and Breeding of Fine Fescues for Low Maintenance Applications.

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GROBEN, Glen

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: Ning Zhang
Advisor: Bruce Clarke
Email: glen.groben@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location:Foran Hall - 373
Tentative Thesis Title: Microbiome Analysis of turfgrasses under abiotic and biotic stresses

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Hempfling, James

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Bruce Clarke
Advisor: James Murphy
Email: james.hempfling@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 287
Research Interests: Using Bentgrass Tolerance, Disease Predictive Models and Fungicide Timing to Control Dollar Spot on Fairway Turf

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Kathryn Homa

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: James Simon
Email: homa@njaes.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: IR-4 Project Headquarters
Tentative Thesis Title: Breeding Ocimum basilicum for resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.basilicum


Photo: Kathryn Homa

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Jackson, Whitney

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Jason Grabosky
Email: wjackson@scarletmail.rutgers.edu

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LAMANNA, Lisa

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor:Pal Maliga
Email: lisa.lamanna@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Waksman Institute, Room-2007, BUSCH Campus
Research Interests: Plant Biotechnology
Tentative Thesis Title: Developing an Efficient System for Chloroplast Transformation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Photo: Lisa Lamanna

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Clayton Leadbetter

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Thomas Molnar
Email: leadbetter@sebs.rutgers.edu
Research Interests: Disease resistance studies of hazelnuts populations from wild collections in Europe and characterization of North American and Asian Illicium species.

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LEWUS, David

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Advisor: A.J. Both -
Email: david.lewus@rutgers.edu

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Li, Dongmeng

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genomics
Advisor: Juan Dong
Email: dongmeng.li@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Room 1001B, Waksman Institute
Research Interests: stomata development, intracellular trafficking and dynamics
Tentative Thesis Title: Functional characterization of the BIP2 family, a novel regulator in Arabidopsis stomatal development.

Photo: Dongmeng Li

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LI, Yuan

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: A.J. Both
Email: yl682@rutgers.edu
Phone Number: 848-445-6294
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 273
Research Interests: Hydroponics, Silicon, Production of leafy green vegetables, plant nutrition and physiology, plant pathology
Tentative Thesis Title: Inducible silicon uptake in silicon non-accumulator plant species

Photo: Yuan Li

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LIU, Qiujie

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Andrea Gallavotti
Email: ql91 @waksman.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Waksman Building, BUSCH Campus
Research Interests: The control of maize inflorescence development by the plant hormone auxin

Photo: Quijie Liu

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LOMBARDONI, Justin

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Thomas Molnar
Email: jjl290@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 178

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LOW, Yee Chen

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Rong Di
Email: yclow@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 222L
Research Interests: Gene editing in plants, Disease resistant
Tentative Thesis Title: CRISPR-editing of susceptibility genes in Arabidopsis and Brachypodium for Fusarium Head Blight resistance

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MATTERA, Robert

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Ning Zhang
Email: robert.mattera@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 301
Tentative Thesis Title: Breeding Sweet and Thai Basils for Basil Downy Mildew Resistance
Research Interests: Robert is fascinated by the idea of plant and crop improvement for aesthetic, agronomic and medicinal uses. He uses modern molecular tools alongside traditional plant breeding to make breeding quicker and more efficient. Identifying putative genes and molecular markers associated with traits of interest is a central focus of his dissertation. Essential oils and the chemistry of secondary metabolites also interests him. Robert is also interested in fermentation and is working on a business to create and sell craft liquors and liqueurs infused with botanicals.

Photo: Robert Mattera

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MAYBERRY, Alex

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Thomas Molnar
Email: alex.mayberry@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 178
Tentative Thesis Title: Genetics and phenotypic characterization of American hazelnut (Corylus americana) for improved disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance of commercial hazelnuts.

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MERCHANT, Emily V.

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Ning Zhang
Email: rogalsky@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: IFNH
Tentative Thesis Title: Nutrient Stability of African Indigenous Vegetables
Research Interests: My work focuses on designing sustainable and resilient food communities. This thesis expands on that by analyzing nutrient stability of African Indigenous Vegetables such as but not limited to, amaranth, African nightshade, moringa, roselle, cowpea, and spider plant at points along the value chain. Nutritional composition will be assessed in various cultivars and postharvest handling methods in addition to behavior change modification that are designed around place and culture to ensure increased consumption of plant micronutrients.

Photo: Emily Merchant

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MICCI, April

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: James White
Email: april.micci@rutgers.edu
Tentative Thesis Title: Do bacteria influence accumulation of lupulin oil glands in Hops floral trichomes?

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MILAN, Emil

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Email: emilan09@rutgers.edu

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Morath, Shannon

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: Joan Bennett
Email: shannon.morath@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 291A

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NDENGU, Andoyo

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Email: andoyo.ndengu@rutgers.edu

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NOTO, Anthony

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Email: ajnoto123@gmail.com

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PATEL, Harna

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Natural Products & Human Health
Advisor: James E. Simon
Email: hkp38@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 391C

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PAUL, Jennifer

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Thomas Molnar
Advisor: Thomas Orton -
Email: jennifer.paul@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 273

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PENNERMAN, Kayla

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture and Plant Technology
Advisor: Joan Bennett
Email: kpennerm@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 291A
Research Interests: Mycology, signaling, biocontrol and molecular biology
Tentative Thesis Title: Molecular Effect of and responses to fungal volatiles

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PFARR, Erin

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Email: erin.pfarr@rutgers.edu

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QU, Yuanshuo 'Henry'

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: William Meyer
Email: yuansho.qu@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 187
Research Interests: Cool season turfgrass breeding and statistical genetics
Tentative Thesis Title: Evaluation and Breeding of Tall Fescue Cultivars with Improved Resistance to Red Thread

Photo: Yuanshuo Qu

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Reichert, William

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: James E. Simon
Email: willreic@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 391C
Research Interests: Increasing the essential oil yield in Nepeta cataria (catnip) and improving the nepetalactone concentration.
Tentative Thesis Title: Phytochemical exploration into Nepeta cataria

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ROSSI, Stephanie

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Bingru Huang
Email: srossi@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 301A
Research Interests: Metabolic regulation of leaf senescence in cool-season turfgrasses, development of thermotolerant bentgrasses, chlorophyll biosynthesis and degradation.
Tentative Thesis Title: Metabolic regulation of heat-induced leaf senescence in creeping bentgrass

Photo: Stephanie Rossi

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SANDERS, Mara

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture and Plant Technology
Advisor: James Simon
Email: mcs@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 204
Tentative Thesis Title: Quantification of Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) leaf nutrition and yield to increase growth and consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa and New Jersey

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Shao, Wanchen

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Juan Dong
Email: wanchen.shao@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Waksman Building, BUSCH Campus
Tentative Thesis Title: Tentative Thesis Title: Molecular mechanism of stomatal asymmetric cell division and polarity establishment in Arabidopsis.
Research Interests: the molecular mechanisms underlying asymmetric cell division (ACD) of plant stem cells, through the investigations in the stomatal development system. The research aims to understand the regulators and genetic pathways in cell polarization, protein trafficking, signal transduction, and cytoskeleton organization in plant ACD, all of which are important topics in plant developmental and cell biology.

Photo: Wanchen Shao

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SKUBEL, Sarah

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Natural Products and Human Health
Advisor: Ilya Raskin
Email: sas706@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location:Foran Hall - 226

Photo: Sarah Skubel

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TATE, Trent

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: William Meyer
Email: trent.tate@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 373
Tentative Thesis Title: Determination of heritability of dollar spot resistance in hard fescue and breeding and understanding the mechanism of resistance to Tenacity herbicide in three fine fescue species

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VASILATIS, Ariane

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Natural Products & Human Health
Advisor: James Simon
Email: a.vasilatis@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location:Foran Hall - 278
Research Interests: Bio-availability, phytochemistry, Natural Product development and Human health.

Photo: Ariane Vasilatis

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VINES, Phillip L. Vines

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Breeding & Genomics
Advisor: Stacy Bonos
Email: plv19@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 187
Tentative Thesis Title: Molecular breeding tools for improving morphological traits and biotics and abiotic stress responses in perennial ryegrass

Photo: Phillip L. Vines

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WALLER, Timothy

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: Peter Oudemans
Email: twaller@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Email: timothy.james.waller@gmail.com
Office/Lab Location:201 Foran Hall
Tentative Thesis Title: Floral Stimulation of Pathogenic Events of Colletotrichum fioriniae and Other Blueberry and Cranberry Fruit Rotting Fungi
Research Interests: small fruit and vegetable pathology, phytopathology, pathogen disease and life-cycle disambiguation, mycology, host compound stimulation of pathogens and novel use of these compounds in conjunction with fungicides and biological controls, IPM, biological controls, cultural control practices aimed at increasing grower profits while decrease monetary inputs, disease forecasting, extension and outreach, fungicide resistance, microscopy, farm to table, increasing public agricultural knowledge, grower-industry-academia relations.

Photo: Timothy Waller

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WANG, Jianqiao 'Cindy'

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Eric Lam
Email: Cindy.j.wang@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 216
Tentative Thesis Title: Tentative Thesis Title: Functional Research of Arabidopsis thaliana Metacaspases

Photo: Jianqiao Wang

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WANG, Jinyu

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Bingru Huang
Email: wangjinyu90@yahoo.com
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 373
Tentative Thesis Title: Physiological, biochemical and molecular factors associated with heat tolerance in fine fescue species (Festuca ssp.)

Photo: Jinyu Wang

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WANG, Lu

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Juan Dong
Email: lw505@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Waksman Building, BUSCH Campus
Tentative Thesis Title: Regulators from cellular, nuclear to chromosomal, in establishing cell polarity for stomatal asymmetric cell division

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WANG, Ruying

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Horticulture & Plant Technology
Advisor: Bruce Clarke
Advisor: Faith Belanger -
Email: ying.wang@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 373
Research Interests: Composition of cranberry flavonoids and their bioactivity toward animal's endocrine system.

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WOLFF, Khea

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Natural Products & Human Health
Advisor: Ilya Raskin
Email: khea.wolff@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 128B

Photo: Khea Wolff

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Xu, Min

Degree Sought: Master of Science
Track: Plant Pathology
Advisor: James White
Email: mx57@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Tentative Thesis Title: The powdery mildew on rice

Photo: Min Xu

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YU, Qiguo

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor: Nilgun Tumer
Email: qy39@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Waksman Building/BUSCH Campus
Research Interests: Exploring the potential of PPR proteins for the design of regulatory systems for plastid transgenes.

Photo: Qiguo Yu

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ZDEPSKI, Anna Lind

Degree Sought: Ph.D
Track: Molecular & Cellular Biology
Advisor:Joachim Messing
Email: Anna.zdepski@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Dr. Messing's Lab, Waksman Institute
Research Interests: Conducing research in molecular genetics of the diploid strawberry, Fragaria vesca I am developing tools in Python, R, and UNIX to identify SNP markers from next generation dequencing data of her F. vesca mapping population. Thesis research includes creating a genetic map and cloining two genes in diploid strawberry.

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ZORDE, Martin

Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Advisor: James Simon
Email: martin.zorde@rutgers.edu
Office/Lab Location: Foran Hall - 301

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Recent Alumni