Tracks in the Graduate Program

Students in the Plant Biology Program may choose from four research and curriculum tracks:

  1. molecular and cellular biology/genomics
  2. plant breeding and genomics
  3. horticulture and plant technology
  4. plant pathology

Specific curricular requirements for each student are developed within the general program requirements by his or her committee, with approval by the track coordinator and program director. The tracks are interwoven in that members of the graduate faculty may be members of more than one track and students are encouraged to take courses in more than one track area.

Students in the molecular and cellular biology/genomics track may specialize in biocontrol of pests and pathogens, biofuels and bioenergy, biotechnology and crop improvements, biotic and abiotic stress/interactions with the environment, circadian control, genetic control of plant development, metabolomics/primary and secondary metabolism, natural products and human health, programmed cell death/senescence and fruit ripening, plant diversity/anatomy/evolution and biogeography, interactiosn with pathogenic and symbiotic microbes, plastid molecular genetics, structural/functional and computational genomics, transcriptional and post-trnacsriptional gene regulation.

Students in the plant breeding and genomics track have the opportunity to study a broad range of topics related to plant breeding from cultivar development, tissue culture, gene mapping, biochemical mechanisms to the latest discoveries in plant genomics and bioinformatics. The plant breeding faculty conduct research on an array of differenct traits, including but not limited to, higher quality and greater yield of fruit, fiber and other plant consituents, resistance to biotic stresses caused by disease and insect pests, resistance to abiotic stresses such as heat and drought, and specialty products such as novel fatty acids, proteins and other plant metabolites.Students will gain experience on a diverse range of vegetable, horticultural and pomological crops including specialty crops like cranberry, blueberry, hazlenuts, dogwoods, hollies, turgrasses, peaches, apples, tomatoes and biofuels. Students will gain experience with both traditional and DNA-based marker-facilitated selection schemes. Studens will gain credentials that are desired to directo or lead plant breeding research at private companies or public institutions. Work experience on the various plant breeding projects often is available for students majoring in plant breeding.

The horticulture and plant technology track focuses on agricultural biotechnology, genetics, plant physiology, weed science, plant systematic, plant-microbe interactions, turfgrass science, crop science in agronomic crops and biofuels, horticultural science in fruits, vegetables, flowers and tree crops.

Among the issues that students in the plant pathology track may address are host/pathogen interactions, epidemiology and control of plant disease, plant virology, bacteriology, mycoplasmology, mycology, molecular biology of plant pathogenic or endophytic microorganisms, and biotechnology.

The list below categorizes each faculty according to their respective track(s). Names in bold indicate track coordinators.

Molecular & Cell Biology

Faith Belanger Joan W. Bennett
Chee-Kok Chin Juan Dong
Hugo Dooner Chaim Frenkel
Andrea Gallavotti Randy Gaugler
Thomas Gianfagna Bradley Hillman
Harry Janes Gojko Jelenkovic
Edward Kirby Donald Kobayashi
Eric Lam Michael Lawton
Thomas Leustek Pal Maliga
Charles Martin Joachim Messing
Ilya Raskin James Simon
Lena Struwe Nilgun Tumer
Ning Zhang Barbara Zilinskas

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Plant Pathology

Faith Belanger Joan W. Bennett
Bruce Clarke Randy Gaugler
Thomas Gianfagna Ann Gould
Bradley Hillman Donald Kobayashi
Norman Lalancette Eric Lam
Michael Lawton William Meyer
Peter Oudemans James Polashock
Nilgun Tumer James White
C. Andrew Wyenandt Ning Zhang

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Plant Breeding and Genomics

Stacy Bonos Chee-Kok Chin
Steve Handel Jean Marie Hartman
Bingru Huang Eric Lam
William Meyer Thomas Orton
Peter Oudemans Lena Struwe
Nilgun Tumer Nick Vorsa
Ning Zhang

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Horticulture & Plant Technology

Stacy Bonos A.J. Both
Bruce Clarke Edward Durner
Chaim Frenkel Steve Garrison
Thomas Gianfagna Joseph Goffreda
Jason Grabosky Joseph Heckman
Bingru Huang Harry Janes
Gojko Jelenkovic Edward Kirby
Brad Majek William Meyer
Thomas Molnar James Murphy
Elwin Orton Thomas Orton
Mark Robson James Simon
Lena Struwe Nick Vorsa
George Wulster Barbara Zilinskas

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