Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant

2022 Plant Center Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Awardees

Anne Frances Jarrell (IPBGG, Buell Lab) – Use of single nuclei RNS-sequencing to understand the mechanisms of russeting in potato

Chaz Jordan (Plant Biology, Leebens-Mack Lab) – Flowering Spaces in Changing Places: Pollination biology assessment of Echinacea tennesseensis and E. laevigata and their common congener E. purpurea based on the 2 axes of rarity

Ben Long (Genetics, Bennetzen Lab) – Exploring genetic diversity in yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), an American native beverage plant

Pablo Mendieta (Genetics, Schmitz Lab) – Identifying the cis-regulatory Elements Driving C4 Photosynthesis at Single Cell Resolution

Justine Valadez (Plant Biology, Johnson Lab) – A Novel Approach to Measuring Water Content in Wood: PiCUS TreeTonic Electric Resistivity Tomography IIPA-PC DDIG Awardee

Hallie Wright (IPBGG, Devos Lab) – Genetic Warfare: Characterizing Avirulence Effector Gene Candidates for Finger Millet Blast

2021 Plant Center Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Awardees

Philip Bentz (Plant Bio, Leebens-Mack Lab) – Dynamic evolution of sex chromosomes in the genus Asparagus

Thomas Curry (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Urbanowicz Lab) – Developing a One-Pot Multienzyme System to Study Xylan Biosynthesis In Vitro

Derek Denney (Plant Bio, Anderson Lab) – Evaluating selection induced by climate change on water-use efficiency in Boechera stricta

Matt Farnitano (Genetics, Sweigart Lab) – Comparative genetic mapping of early-stage reproductive barriers

Michelle Henson (Plant Bio, Chung Lab) –  Impacts of fire frequency on plant-soil interactions in a longleaf pine-wiregrass savanna

Joana Mijatović (Plant Pathology, Kvitko Lab) – GumD to the rescue: Genetic disruption of EPS-to facilitate Xanthomonas hybrid genome sequencing and assembly for functional genetics of virulence

Willis Turner Spratling (Plant Pathology, Bahri Lab) – Development of species-specific primers for Clarireedia pathogens, etiological agents of dollar spot in turfgrass

2020 Plant Center Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Awardees

Soyeon Choi (Genetics, Devos Lab) – Identifying the effect of a single amino acid substitution in B box domain 1 on the structure and function of the PvHd1 protein in switchgrass.

Lanxi Hu (Plant Pathology, Yang Lab) – Smaller and faster: develop a reversible fluorescent tool for live cell imaging of protein interactions.

Mohammad Inam Jameel (Genetics, Anderson Lab) – What are the relative contributions of genetic variation, within-generation plasticity, and transgenerational plasticity to anti-herbivore defenses in Boechera stricta?

Mia Rochford (Plant Biology, Anderson and Cruse-Sanders Labs) – How does habitat fragmentation influence the potential for natural plant populations to adapt to climate change?

Trevor Tuma (Plant Biology, Tsai Lab) – Understanding the Seasonal Interplay Between Carbohydrate Mobilization, Biomass Production, & Phenology in Woody Perennial Species

Makenzie Whitener (Genetics, Sweigart Lab) – Genome evolution and the genetics of adaptation in the allopolyploid Mimulus sookensis

Honorable Mentions 

Derek Denney (Plant Biology, Anderson Lab) – Evaluating selection induced by climate change on water-use efficiency in Boechera stricta

Richard Field (Genetics, Leebens-Mack Lab) – An exploration of the prevalence and conservation of polycistronic gene expression in four vascular plants with phylogenetically strategic relationships.

Kelly McCrum (Plant Biology, Anderson and Chung Labs) – The effects of spatial mismatch in plant-soil microbe interactions on fitness responses of five plants

Renan Silva e Souza (Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, Li Lab) – Dissecting the Rpp6 resistance alleles for genetic improvement of resistance to soybean rust