Undergraduate Research

ambrosia stem cell

Faculty affiliated with the Plant Center are committed to training the next generation of scientific researchers.

Plant Center faculty have been very successful in undergraduate training, with hundreds of examples of students who have worked in member labs as a stepping stone to prepare the for graduate school or a career in a biomedical field. There are also countless examples of students who began with an interest in medicine only to change their minds and go on to become successful plant scientists.  Visit our member page to find faculty research areas that align with your interests.  Contact faculty directly to find out if they can provide research opportunities for you in their labs.


Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU)

Crop Genetics and Genomics


Are you an undergraduate interested in plant biology, crop genomics, feeding the future and improving fibers, fuels, or forest materials?

We are currently recruiting Fellows for Summer 2021! Students from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. We are optimistic that we will be able to hold the program as planned, but there may be minor changes, such as some activities being held virtually, due to CDC and University of Georgia guidelines for Covid-19


Program description: Ten first- and second-year undergraduate Fellows will work on research projects for 9 weeks this summer with Plant Center faculty mentors in hands-on laboratory and field-based research experiences in crop genetics and genomics. Find more information about faculty research areas here: Faculty research.

Fellows will also take part in a 2-day, hands-on ‘Plant Breeding Practicum’ field course to learn firsthand how genetic and genomics research is used to improve crop cultivars. In addition, Fellows will participate in a service-learning project to develop an understanding of the connection between research, extension and crop production. Professional development opportunities covering career options, research ethics, networking, and science and public communication are also part of the program. Our primary mission is to develop plant scientists that can address the challenges facing US agricultural competitiveness and food production.

All students are supported with a $4,500 stipend. We cover dorm rooms for non-UGA students, plus a small meal allowance.

The exact research project and matching of fellows with mentors will be worked out later.

Anny Chung
  • Investigating leaf and root endophytic fungal communities in different genotypes of bioernergy sorghum
Katrien Devos
  • Trait analysis in switchgrass. This involves scoring of heading date and other traits in the field and conduct bioinformatics analyses to find regions of the genome controlling the traits of interest.
  • Fine-mapping the Br1 gene in pearl millet. This involves screening a large population with molecular markers to identify plants carrying a recombination event in the Br1 region, growing and phenotyping the plants for panicle bristle length, and develop and test new molecular markers for the Br1 region
Brian Kvitko
  • Use bacterial genetic manipulation and mutational analysis to characterize how bacterial pathogens dampen the plant immune system and exploit plant hosts.
Jim Leebens-Mack
  • A collaborative project to work with others in the lab on gene capture and sequence analysis.
Cecilia McGregor
  • A project focused on disease resistance in watermelon involving pathogen detection methods, pathogen inoculation methodologies or evaluation of plant resistance.
Wayne Parrott
  • A range of topics related to plant biotechnology and the bacterial tools used for biotechnology. Emphasis on plant biotechnology, including editing and transgene characterization.
Shavannor Smith
  • Characterization of population structure and evolution of rust fungus isolates and plant genotypes.
CJ Tsai
  • CRISPR genome editing and mutant characterization
  • Growth and defense tradeoff characterization at molecular, physiological and anatomical levels
  • Metabolite profiling of plant stress responses
Esther van der Knaap
  • Genetic characterization of fruit weight and flavor in tomato. Laboratory and field experiments to study the inheritance of fruit weight and volatile production.
Li Yang
  • Investigate the correlation between aging and disease resistance in a natural population
  • Determine how bacteria influence plant regeneration.
  • Identify growth-promoting bacteria for peanut


  • Currently finishing your first or second year of college courses (sophomore or junior standing by summer) is preferred
  • US citizenship or permanent residency is required
  • You must be available for the full 9 weeks from May 24 to July 24, 2021
  • Demonstrated interest in agrisciences or majoring in biology, plant biology, genetics, horticulture, microbiology, life sciences, or agricultural sciences

Application deadline: all materials are due by March 7, 2021 for summer 2021

Application process: 1) complete the application form here, 2) arrange to have two letters of recommendation (Letter of Recommendation 2021) submitted to uga.plant.reeu@gmail.com, 3) submit your most recent transcript (unofficial copy okay) to uga.plant.reeu@gmail.com with your name in the subject line

Contacts: Dr. Marin Brewer, mtbrewer@uga.edu, 706-542-1254; Dr. CJ Tsai cjtsai@uga.edu, 706-542-1271

“The connections and the experiences that I have gained from Dr. Parrott’s and Dr. Missaoui’s labs have helped me become a better informed and more driven in my goals” –  Tate Hutwagner