UCR

Department of Botany & Plant Sciences



Graduate Students



The Plant Biology Graduate students are engaged in cutting-edge research impacting all areas of the plant sciences. Our Program is one of the largest graduate programs at UC Riverside and offers unique academic and professional training opportunities. Plant Biology students are being recognized for their research excellence by national awards and honors and papers in high profile journals. Our students are engaged in a wide variety of outreach initiatives and are taking leadership positions at UC Riverside and in professional organizations. Contact our students or faculty, if you have questions about the student experience at UC Riverside or research discipline questions; or contact the Plant Biology Graduate program advisors.

 STUDENT INFO
Aleyda Rangel

Acosta Rangel, Aleyda Maritza

aacos011@ucr.edu

Faculty: Louis Santiago

Degrees:
BS, Biology, Universidad Del Cauca, Colombia
MS, Biology, Universidad Del Cauca, Colombia

Research Interest:

Awards:

Marschal Bellinger

Bellinger, Marschal

mbell008@ucr.edu

Faculty: Carolyn Rasmussen

Degrees: BS, Biological Science, California State University, East Bay, CA

Research Interest: I am currently researching molecular plant microbial interactions, observing how plants react to biotic stress factors.

Awards:

  • Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship Recipient (2013-14)
  • Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Fellowship Recipient (2013)
Emily Blair

Blair, Emily

emily.blair@ucr.edu 

Faculty: Rotation

Degrees: BS, Biology, Pepperdine University, CA

Research Interest

Teresa Bohner 2014

Bohner, Teresa

teresa.bohner@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Jeff Diez

Degrees: BS Biological Science, Florida State University

Research Interest: 

Research interests include plant community ecology.    I am particularly interested in integrating population dynamic tools with experimental field studies to understand the consequences of global climate change on plant communities and how evolutionary processes affect populations. 
John Chater

Chater, John

(951) 827-7003
john.chater@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Don Merhaut

Degrees: 
BA, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
MS, Agriculture, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Research Interest: My research interests include tree crop physiology of fruit and nut crops and fate and transport of contaminants in the agroecosystem. My previous work was on postharvest fruit quality and mitigation of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit split/cracking utilizing foliar nutrient applications. My work at UC Riverside involves a pomegranate cultivar evaluation with cross-site comparisons. In addition to this pomegranate cultivar evaluation, I hope to pursue a study on tree uptake of anthropogenic radioisotopes, a food security study with an ecological modeling component.

Awards:

  • Agriculture Research Initiative Grant (2010, 2011)
  • Resnick Foundation Grant (2010,2011)
  • Harold G. Hull Assistantship (2010, 2011)
  • American Society for Horticultural Science Student Travel Grant (2010)
  • American Society for Horticultural Science Industry Achievement Award (2010)
  • Susan Cassanova Pre-doctoral Program (honorable mention) (2011)

Publications: "Hydro-organics," The Canadian Organic Grower (Winter 2007)

Leadership and Outreach:

  • Member, American Society of Horticultural Science
  • Golden Key International Honor Society 
  • Turfgrass & Landscape Research Field Day (2013)
Courtney Collins 2014

Collins, Courtney

courtney.collins@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Jeff Diez

Degrees: 
B.A. Environmental Science, University of Florida 
M.S. Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, University of Georgia

Research Interest:  My research interests center on plant-soil feedbacks and how the interaction between plants and their soil environment affects species distributions, coexistence, and community composition, in particular with regards to range expanding native species.  

Awards:  2015 Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant

Lauren Dedow

Dedow, Lauren

(951) 827-6376
lauren.dedow@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Julia Bailey Serres

Degrees: B.S, Biological Sciences- Plant Sciences, Michigan Technological University, MI

Research Interest: Post-transcriptional gene regulation is an important, yet relatively unstudied area of gene expression regulation, the role of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in these processes is understood even less. In animals, the RBP family of Pumillio-Puf domains proteins (PUMs) has been shown to control both developmental and stress related processes. Arabidopsis thaliana has 26 PUMs (APUMs) most of which are poorly understood. My research focuses on the investigation of the Group 3 APUMs including their localization, RNA targets and biological role in an effort to better understand the role RBPs play in gene regulation.

Awards: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Recipient (2012-2015)

Publications: Wang L, Si Y, Dedow LK, Shao Y, Lui P, Brutnell TP. (2011) A Low-Cost Library
Construction Protocol and Data Analysis Pipeline for Illumina-Based Strand-Specific Multiplex RNA-Seq. PLoS ONE 6: e26426.

Leadership and Outreach: Development of a Molecular Biology Undergraduate lab with Dr. Joanna Werner-Fraczek of Moreno Valley College

Jennifer Eberwein

Eberwein, Jennifer

(951) 827-7113
jennifer.eberwein002@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Darrel Jenerette

Degrees: BS, Environmental Science, University of Texas San Antonio

Research Interest: My dissertation research is focusing on the effect of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on soil emissions of CO2, N2O and NOx. My general interests include biogeochemical cycling, carbon and nitrogen interactions, and desert ecology.

Leadership and Outreach:

  • Participant/Presentor, BPSC "Where does food come from" Outreach Event for 6th graders from Highland Elementary (2012, 2013)
  • Participant, Women in Math and Science Shadow Day for 5th -7th graders from the Riverside STEM Academy (2013)
  • Participant, CalIPC (California Invasive Plant Society) Outreach Events
Yoko Eck

Eck, Yoko

yoko.eck@ucr.edu

Faculty: Mike Roose

Degrees: BS, Neuroscience, Riverside, CA

Cara Fertitta

Fertitta, Cara

(951) 827-7113

Faculty: Darrel Jenerette

Degrees: B.S. Biology from University of South Carolina

Research Interest: My focus is plant ecology, with emphases in agroecology and ecosystem ecology. I am interested in integrating ecological principles into agricultural systems to generate low input, resilient, and diverse food systems using a combination of field studies and computational models. I am participating in desert biofuels sustainability assessment as well as an urban garden biodiversity study. I intend to focus my dissertation on agroecological approaches to intercropping.

Awards

Leadership and Outreach:

  • President and co-founder, WIMS (Women in Math and Sciences) (2012-present)
  • Volunteer, MLK day of service at the Arlanza Community Garden
  • Volunteer, "Where does food come from?" Outreach event for elementary school students (2013)
Danielle Garceau

Garceau, Danielle

danielle.garceau@ucr.edu

Faculty: Linda Walling

Degrees: BS, Biology - Stonehill College

Research Interest: Plant defense; whitefly resistance mechanisms in cassava

 

Jon Helander

Helander, Jonathan

(951) 827-6991

Faculty: Sean Cutler

Degrees: BS, Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Research Interest: Interested in the structure-activity-relationship of small molecules and their receptors, specifically the structure activity relationship of compounds that mediate an ABA response in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Ira Herniter

Herniter, Ira

ira.herniter@ucr.edu

Faculty: Tim Close

Degrees: BS - University of Maryland College Park, MD

Research Interest:

 

 

Yi Huang

Huang, Yi

yi.huang004@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Rotating

Degrees: BS, Bioscience, Beijing Normal University, China - Peoples Republic Of

Research Interest:

 

Peter Ibsen

Ibsen, Peter

peter.ibsen@ucr.edu

Faculty: Darrell Jenerette

Degrees: B.A. - University of San Francisco

Research Interest:

 

Rodrigo Iturrieta

Iturrieta, Rodrigo

(951) 827-3335
rodrigo.iturrieta@ucr.edu

Faculty: Mary Lu Arpaia

Degrees:
BS, Agronomy (Agronomic Engineering), Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile
MS, Agro-environmental Production, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile

Research Interest: I am interested in avocado (Persea Americana, Mill.) growth and development and carbohydrate fluxes.

Awards:

  • Conicyt fellowship from Chilean government (2011-present)
  • Whitsell Avocado Research Scholarship (2012)

Publications: Castro V, M., Iturrieta E, R. & Fassio O, C. Rootstock. (2009) Effect on the tolerance of cv. Hass avocado plants to NaCl stress. Chil J Agr Res 69: 316-324 

Leadership and Outreach: Treasurer, Botany Graduate Student Association (2013) 

TianRan Jia

Jia, TianRan

(951) 827-3178
tianran.jia@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Xuemei Chen

Degrees:
BS (with Honors), Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
MS, Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Research Interest: My current research is focused on microRNA mediated translational repression in plant cells.

Publications:

  • Jia T, Gao C, Cui Y, Wang J, Ding Y, Cai Y, Ueda T, Nakano A, and Jiang L. (2013) ARA7(Q69L) expression in transgenic Arabidopsis cells induces the formation of enlarged multivesicular bodies. Journal of Experimental Botany 64, 2817-2829.
  • Cai Y, Jia T, Lam SK, Ding Y, Gao C, San MW, Pimpl P, Jiang L. (2011) Multiple cytosolic and transmembrane determinants are required for the trafficking of SCAMP1 via an ER-Golgi-TGN-PM pathway. The Plant Journal 65, 882-896.
Israel Jimenez Luna

Jimenez Luna, Israel

israel.jimenez@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Rotating

Degree:
BS, Biology, UCLA, CA
MS, Biology, UCLA, CA

Research:

 

Dion Kucera

Kucera, Dion


Faculty
Darrel Jenerette

Degree:
BS, Humboldt State University, CA
MS Indiana University Blooming, IN

Research: 

 

Travis Lee

Lee, Travis

(951) 827-6376
travis.lee@email.ucr.edu 

Faculty: Julia Bailey-Serres

Degrees: 
BS, Biological Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA
MS, Molecular Biology, California State University Long Beach, CA

Research Interest: My research focuses on plant responses under low oxygen (hypoxia).  Natural events, such as flooding, lead to decreased oxygen levels within the plant. To survive prolonged hypoxia stress, changes in metabolism must occur as a result of differential gene regulation, which is mediated by specific transcription factors. A specific group of ethylene response factors (ERFs) have been found to be important for hypoxia and submergence tolerance. The focus of my research aims to elucidate the roles and functions, as well as the network of genes and proteins associated with these specific ERFs.

Publications: 
Lee, T. A., Vande Wetering, S. W., and Brusslan, J. A. (2013). Stromal protein degradation is incomplete in Arabidopsis thaliana autophagy mutants undergoing natural senescence. BMC Res Notes, 6, 17. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-6-17

Gasch P, Fundinger M, Muller JT, Lee T, Bailey-Serres J, Mustroph A (2016) Redundant ERF-VII Transcription Factors Bind to an Evolutionarily Conserved cis-Motif to Regulate Hypoxia-Responsive Gene Expression in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 28: 160-180

Kun Liu

Liu, Kun

(951) 827-7864
kliu010@ucr.edu

Faculty: Susan Wessler

Degrees: BA, Biology, Tsinghua University, China

Research Interest: My research interest is to study the transposition behavior and its underlying mechanism of DNA transposons, especially the Mutator superfamily.

Leadership and Outreach: Mentoring undergraduate students Steven Li and Twinkle Patel

Li Liu 2014

Liu, Li

951-827-3178

lliu026@ucr.edu

Faculty: Xuemei Chen

Degrees:
BA, Biotechnology, South China Tropical Agricultural University, CHINA
MS, Botany, Shenzhen University, CHINA

Research Interest:  My current research is focused on microRNA  degradation and microRNA movement.

 

Sasoum Lo

Lo, Sassoum

sassoum.lo@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Timothy Close

Degrees: BS Chemistry and Applied Biology, Cheikh Anta Diop University Dakar, Senegal

Research Interest: I am interested in crop domestication and crop genetic improvement. Specifically, my research is focused on determining the genetic basis of domestication-related traits in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), including pod shattering and seed size, and on studying the effect of increasing seed size on the nutritional quality of the cowpea grain.

Awards:
Travel award, PanAfrican Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference, Legume Innovation Lab (2016)

Graduate Studies Fellowship, West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (World Bank funds) (2014-2016)

Graduate Research Fellowship, Kirkhouse Trust Foundation, University of Virginia (2012)

Leadership and Outreach:  Volunteer, “Where does food come from?” Outreach event for elementary school students (2015)

Publications:

Elizabeth Luscher

Luscher, Elizabeth

(951) 827-7056
elizabeth.luscher@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Patricia Springer

Degrees: BS, Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology, The Ohio State University

Research Interest: My research interests involve understanding the control of shoot architecture in monocots and dicots. Current work is focused on dissecting the relationship between the plant hormone brassinosteroid (BR) and the development of the ligular region in the maize leaf. The ligular region, which forms at the junction between the blade and sheath, regulates leaf inclination, which when altered can increase plant density and yield overall. 

Awards:

  • GAANN Fellowship Award - 16W
Dinusha Maheepala

Maheepala, Dinusha

(951) 827-3914
dinusha.maheepala@ucr.edu

Faculty: Amy Litt

Degrees:
MS, Plant Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA
BS, Biological Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA

Research Interest: Fleshy fruits have evolved multiple times during the evolution of angiosperms. My research involves studying the evolution and development of fleshy fruits in Solanaceae. I pay special attention to the role of FRUITFULL genes in these processes.

Awards:

  1. GAANN Fellowship Award - 16W 

Leadership and Outreach:

  1. Volunteer, "Where Does Food Come From?", Botany and Plant Sciences outreach event at UCR (2013)
  2. Science fair judge, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside CA (2013)
Leticia Meza

Meza, Leticia

leticia.meza@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Rotation

Degree:
BS, Biology, Chicago State University, IL

Research:

 

Jonathan Montgomery

Montgomery, Jonathan

jmont030@ucr.edu

Faculty: Milt McGiffen

Degrees: BS, Botany, Humboldt State University, CA

Research Interest: I am interested in plant/environment interactions, especially those relating to water use. My research is primarily focused on the manipulation of plant physiology through genetics with the goal of increasing drought tolerance.

Awards:

  1. GAANN Fellowship Award - 16W
Irma Ortiz

Ortiz, Irma

irma.ortiz001@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Linda Walling

Degrees: BS, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, UCLA

Research Interest: Plants encounter biotic stresses in the field and they coordinate many signal transduction pathways for an effective defense. The Walling lab identified leucyl aminopeptidase A (LAP-A) is important to protect tomatoes against insect feeding. I am interested in understanding the key players downstream of LAP-A in the wound signaling pathway. 

Awards:

  1. Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2013-2016)
  2. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention (2013)
  3. ASPB Travel Grant (2013)
  4. NSF California Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship (2012-2013)

Publications:

  1. Schwartz AR, Ortiz I, Maymon M, Herbold C, Fujishige NA, Vijanderan J, Villella W, Hanamoto K, Diener A, Sanders ER, DeMason DA, and Hirsch AM (2013) Bacillus simplex- a little known PGPB with anti-fungal activity- alters pea legume root architecture and nodule morphology when coinoculated with Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae. Agronomy 3: 595.
  2. Grigorian M, Mandal L, Hakimi M, Ortiz I, Hartenstein V (2011) The convergence of Notch and MAPK signaling specifies the blood progenitor fate in the Drosophila mesoderm. Developmental Biology 353: 105.
  3. Spindler SR, Ortiz I, Fung S, Takashima S, Hartenstein V (2009) Drosophila cortex and neuropile glia influence secondary axon tract growth, pathfinding, and fasciculation in the developing larval brain. Developmental Biology 334: 355.

Leadership and Outreach:

  1. UCR Chicano Link Peer Mentor to incoming undergraduate students (2013)
  2. Annual Inland Empire Science Olympiad assistant (2013)
  3. Bridge to the Doctorate Graduate Student Panelist to an undergraduate student audience in UCR and UCI (2012)
  4. Led a “Fruit and Veggies” station for one hundred elementary students in Annual Botany and Plant Sciences event “Where Does Food Come From?” (2012-2013)
Michala Phillips 2014

Phillips, Michala

michala.phillips@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Edith Allen

Degrees:

Research Interest:

 

Michael Pina

Piña, Michael

mpina001@ucr.edu

Faculty: Milton McGiffen

Degrees: B.S., Biology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

Research Interest: My dissertation work investigates the effects of the soil amendment biochar on the ability of agronomic legumes to add nitrogen to the soil. I am broadly interested in sustainable food systems and cultural practices that enhance soil fertility and reduce energy inputs in agriculture. I believe that food security and environmental sustainability are critical to a healthy and vibrant world community.

Awards:

  1. Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2014
  2. Fellow, Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security, Purdue University, 2015

 

Alexander Plong

Plong, Alexander

alexander.plong@ucr.edu

Faculty: Venu Gonehal

Degrees: BS, MS - Cal State Long Beach

Research Interest:

 

Han Qu

Qu, Han

han.qu@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Arthur Jia

Degree:  BAR, Ornamental Horticulture, Beijing Forestry University, China

Research: 

 

Alex Rajewski

Rajewski, Alex

araje002@ucr.edu,
Professional Lab Website

Faculty: Amy Litt

Degrees: MS - University of Georgia Athens, GA, BS - Drake University, IA

Research Interest:  During the evolution of angiosperms, there has frequently been a transition from dry to fleshy fruits. I study the evolution of dry vs fleshy fruits in the nightshade (Solanaceae) plant family focusing on the dry fruit of tabacco and the role of the transcription factor FRUITFULL.

Awards:

  1. Eugene Cota-Robles - 15F
  2. American Society for Horticultural Science Travel Grant - 16S
  3. GAANN Fellowship Award - 16F

Leadership and Outreach:

    1. Graduate Student Peer Mentor, 2016-Present
    2. American Society for Horticultural Science, Membership and Member Services Task Force, 2016-Present
    3. American Society for Horticultural Science, Grad Student Working Group Co-Chair,  2015-2016

 

Rachel Rattner

Rattner, Rachel

rachel.rattner@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Mikeal Roose

Degrees: BS, Biotechnology, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY

Research Interest: My research project involves investigating the importance of small RNA molecules, which regulate the expression of genes, during citrus development and their impact on citrus fruit quality.  There is evidence that some of these molecules can move from shoots to roots and from roots to shoots.  Therefore, small RNAs produced in citrus roots may regulate gene expression in the fruits. The results from this project will be useful to citrus breeders in the future.  

Awards:

  1. Frontiers and Techniques in Plant Science - a Cold Spring Harbor Workshop, Travel Grant (2012)
  2. Charles W. Coggins Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund (2013)

Leadership and Outreach:

  1. Co-Chair, Botany Graduate Student Association (2013-2014)
  2. Graduate Student Representative, Educational Advisory Committee, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences (2013-2014) 
Paul Roche 2014

Roche, Paul

paul.roche@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Linda Walling

Degrees: BS, Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside

Research Interest: Enzyme leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) and its role as a molecular chaperone within the cell. 

Israel Santana

Santana, Israel

israel.santana@email.ucr.edu

Faculty
: Rotation

Degree:
BS, Natural and Social Science, Cal State University Los Angeles, CA

Research: 

 

Mercedes Schroeder

Schroeder, Mercedes

(951) 827-7955
mercedes.schroeder@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Thomas Eulgem

Degrees:
BS, Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, LA
MS, Plant Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA

Research Interest: My research integrates Molecular Biology techniques and Chemical Genetics to study mechanisms of the plant defense system in plant/pathogen interactions.  The ultimate goal of this work is the application of novel agricultural methods to decrease the use of biocidal pesticides on crops. 

Awards: 

  1. Fellowship,  National Science Foundation-funded ChemGen Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program (2012)

Publications:

  1. Yosypiv IV, Schroeder M and El-Dahr S S (2006) Angiotensisn II type 1 receptor-EGF receptor cross-talk regulates ureteric bud branching morphogenesis.  J Am Soc Nephrol 12: 1005-1014.
  2. Iosipiv IV and Schroeder M (2003) A role for angiotensin II AT(1) receptors in ureteric bud cell branching.  Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 285:  F199-F207.

Leadership and Outreach:  Mentor, Postbaccalaureate Student Researcher (2013)

Michael Schwartz 2014

Schwartz, Michael

mschw011@ucr.edu

Faculty: Patricia Springer

Degrees: BS, Biological Sciences and Plant Biology, North Carolina State University

Research Interest:

Andrew Semotiuk

Semotiuk, Andrew

(951) 827-3546
Website: http://ezcurralab.ucr.edu/asemotiuk/asemotiuk.html

Faculty: Exequiel Ezcurra

Degrees: 
BS, Biochemistry, Walla Walla University, WA
MS, Biochemistry, Loma Linda University, CA

Research Interest: My research interests include ethnobotany and ecology of medicinal plant communities. Currently, I am investigating the medicinal plant populations and collecting practices in the Yaqui and Mayo River Valleys of Sonora, Mexico. Understanding the interactions between people and these natural resources gives insight to the sustainability of the ecosystem and cultural diversity that depends on it.

Awards: 

  1. Grant, UC MEXUS Small Grant (2013)

Publications:

  1. Semotiuk A, Cus M, Semotiuk N (2012) Modern education and culture impact on both language and botanical healing traditions of the Maya in Belize. Acta Horticulturae 1: 205-210.
  2. Adeoye OO, Butler SM, Hubbell MC, Semotiuk A, Williams JM, Pearce WJ (2013) Contribution of increased VEGF receptors to hypoxic changes in fetal ovine carotid artery contractile proteins. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 304: C656-665.
  3. Hubbell MC, Semotiuk AJ, Thorpe RB, Adeoye OO, Butler SM, Williams JM, Khorram O, Pearce WJ (2012) Chronic hypoxia and VEGF differentially modulate abundance and organization of myosin heavy chain isoforms in fetal and adult ovine arteries. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 303: C1090-1103.
  4. Butler SM, Abrassart JM, Hubbell MC, Adeoye O, Semotiuk A, Williams JM, Mata-Greenwood E, Khorram O, Pearce WJ (2011) Contributions of VEGF to age-dependent transmural gradients in contractile protein expression in ovine carotid arteries. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology 301: C653-C666.

Leadership and Outreach:

  1. Planting Science Mentor, Society for Economic Botany (online) (2012-present)
  2. Participant, Plant biology experimental afternoons, Casa Hogar de Niños Betesda, Navojoa, Mexico)
 

Siebert, Toni

Toni.Siebert@ucr.edu

Faculty: Norm Ellstrand

Degrees: BS, Horticulture, California State Polytech Univ, Pomona, CA

Research Interest: 

Publications:

Amanda Swanson

Swanson, Amanda

amanda.swanson@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Edith Allen

Degrees: BA, Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine

Research Interest: My research interests focus on carbon dynamics in California deserts and how these dynamics pertain to global change. I would like to look at the role that the vegetation plays in mediating carbon stores, especially inorganic carbon, and how certain disturbances, such as exotic plant invasion and utility scale solar panel developments may impact this ecosystem.

Leadership and Outreach: Treasurer, UCR Student Chapter of the California Invasive Plant Council

 
Lisa Tang

Tang, Lisa

(951) 827-4663
lisa.tang@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Carol Lovatt

Degrees: BS, Horticulture, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Research Interest: I am interested in the effect of fruit on the expression of floral genes and hormone-related genes in alternate bearing citrus, including ‘Pixie’ mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) The effects of abiotic stresses, including water-deficit stress and low temperature, on citrus flowering are also my research focus.

noah teller

Teller, Noah

noah.teller@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Travis Bean

Degree:  BA, Biology, Whitman College, WA

Research:  I am broadly interested in investigating novel strategies and refining existing restoration techniques that improve ecological sequestration of greenhouse gases in working landscapes and wild lands without significantly compromising on traditional restoration goals such as protecting biodiversity and safeguarding ecosystem services.  I would like to develop strategies of minimal intervention and disturbance that reduce the use of heavy machinery, herbicides, and chemical inputs to control cost and that are feasible in highly restricted or rugged areas such as designated Wilderness.  I hope to orient my research towards informing concrete policies and advocating for interagency and private-public coordinated action to protect the lands we depend on for our survival, quality of life, economy, and culture.Target systems for these goals include grazed lands dominated by invasive annual grasses in California’s lower elevations and forest systems impacted by severe fire in the Sierra Nevada and California Coast ranges.

 

Patrick Thomas 2014

Thomas, Patrick

patrick.thomas@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Linda Walling

Degrees: BS, Agricultural Science, Pennsylvania State University, PA

Research Interest:

 

Jessica Toth

Toth, Jessica

(951) 827-6991
jtoth001@ucr.edu

Faculty: Jaimie Van Norman

Degrees: 
B.S. Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside
B.S. Plant Biology, University of California, Riverside

Research Interest: I am interested in studying the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) and its pathway and corresponding receptors within the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. ABA has many potential agricultural applications and promotes drought tolerance in plants. 

Daniel Tracy 2014

Tracy, Daniel

daniel.tracy@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Sean Cutler

Degrees: B.S. Biochemistry, Florida Atlantic University

Research Interest:

Lauren Velasco

Velasco, Lauren

(951) 827-7113
lauren.velasco@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Darrel Jenerette

Degrees: BS, Biological Science, California State University, Fullerton 

Research Interest: My interests primarily lie in in the study of plant ecophysiology, specifically how plants cope and acclimate to climate change.  My goal is to document morphological and ecophysiological changes within common city trees with increasing temperatures.  My secondary work involves factors, which contribute to variation in leaf litter decomposition rates in arid environments.

Leadership and Outreach:                                                                                   

  1. Member, UCR student chapter of the California Invasive Plant Council (2013-present)
  2. Secretary, UCR student chapter of the California Invasive Plant Council (2013-present)
  3. Vice President, UCR chapter, Women in Math and Science (2013-2014)
  4. Secretary, UCR chapter, Women in Math and Science (2012-2013)
Lorena Villanueva 2014

Villanueva-Almanza, Lorena

(951) 8272869
lorena.villanuevaalmanza@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Exequiel Ezcurra

Degrees: BS, Biology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico.                           MSc, Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Research Interest:  I am interested in the origins and ecology of the native and introduced plants of the missions of the Baja California Peninsula. Understanding their origin and interactions amongst themselves, the surrounding human populations and the abiotic factors can help tailor conservation strategies.

Awards:

  1. 2014-2018  National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT-UCMEXUS) Scholarship
  2. 2014-2015 Mexican Ministry of Education (SEP) Scholarship
  3. 2013 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Distinction for dissertation titled Risk Assessment of Seven Timber Species in the       Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Kenya and Tanzania
  4.  2012-2013 National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) Scholarship                                                                                                                                     

Publications:

Villanueva-Almanza L. 2014. Garryaceae. In: Medina-Lemos R., J.G. Sánchez-Ken, A. García-Mendoza & S. Arias-Montes (eds.). Flora del Valle de Tehuacán- Cuicatlán 116: 1-9. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

Villanueva-Almanza L. 2012. Phytolaccaceae. In: Medina-Lemos R., J.G. Sánchez-Ken, A. García-Mendoza & S. Arias-Montes (eds.). Flora del Valle de Tehuacán- Cuicatlán 105: 1-17. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

http://www.ibiologia.unam.mx/barra/publicaciones/floras_tehuacan/2013/F105_Phy.pdf

Martínez-López M. & L. Villanueva-Almanza. 2012. Primulaceae. In: Medina-Lemos R., J.G. Sánchez-Ken, A. García-Mendoza & S. Arias-Montes (eds.). Flora del Valle de Tehuacán- Cuicatlán 101: 1-24. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

http://www.ibiologia.unam.mx/barra/publicaciones/floras_tehuacan/F101_Pri.pdf

Villanueva-Almanza L. 2011. Loasaceae. In: Medina-Lemos R., J.G. Sánchez-Ken, A. García-Mendoza & S. Arias-Montes (eds.). Flora del Valle de Tehuacán- Cuicatlán 93: 1-24. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

http://www.ibiologia.unam.mx/barra/publicaciones/floras_tehuacan/2012/F93_Loas.pdf

Villanueva-Almanza L. & R. María Fonseca-Juárez. 2011. Revisión Taxonómica y Distribución Geográfica de Ephedra en México. (Taxonomic revision of genus Ephedra in Mexico) Acta Botánica Mexicana 96: 79-116

http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=57419276009

 

 

Jianqiang Wang

Wang, Jianqiang

jianqiang.wang@email.ucr.edu

Faculty
: Thomas Eulgem

Degree:
BS, Biological Sciences, Fujian Agriculture& Forestry University, China
MS, Plant Pathology, Fujian Agriculture& Forestry University, China

Research: 

 

Meiyue Wang 2014

Wang, Meiyue

meiyue.wang@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Shizhong Xu

Degrees: BS, Plant Science-Crop Production Management, California State University, Fresno

Research Interest:  My research focuses on developing new statistical methods for testing population differentiation due to selection using genome-wide molecular marker data.

 

Soren Weber 2014

Weber, Soren

soren.weber@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Jeff Diez and Michael Allen

Degrees: B.S. Biology, University of Central Florida

Research Interest:  Biotic interactions within and between plants and fungi, and the resulting community composition and evolutionary implications of these interactions. Specifically, understanding the impacts of invasive plant species on common mycorrhizal networks between native plants, mycoheterotrophy, and changes in the role of phenotypic plasticity for invasive plants with time since invasion.

 

Camille Wendlandt

Wendlandt, Camille

(951) 827-3455
cwend001@ucr.edu

Faculty: Joel Sachs

Degrees: BS, Biology, Seattle Pacific University, WA

Research Interest: I am broadly interested in the ecology of legume root nodulation by symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Specifically, I want to understand how legumes integrate signals from the rhizosphere, such as nutrient availability and microbe community dynamics, in the decision to initiate nodulation with potential symbionts. 

Publications: Campbell DF, Wendlandt CE (2013).  Altered precipitation affects plant hybrids differently than their parental species. American Journal of Botany 100: 1322-1331.

Sonja Winte 2014

Winte, Sonja

sonja.winte@email.ucr.edu

Faculty:  Julia Bailey-Serres 

Degrees:  BS-Genetics and BA-English, UC Davis--Davis, CA

Research Interest:  Plant development; plant plasticity in response to environmental stress

Publications:  Ron M, Kajala K, Pauluzzi G, Wang D, Reynoso MA, Zumstein K, Garcha J, Winte S, Masson H, Inagaki S, Federici F, Sinha N, Deal RB, Bailey-Serres J, and Brady SM (2014). Hairy root transformation using Agrobacterium rhizogenes as a tool for exploring cell type-specific gene expression and function using tomato as a model. Plant Physiology; 166(2): 455-469.

Awards:

  • GAANN Fellowship Award - 16W
zenan xing

Xing, Zenan

zenan.xing@email.ucr.edu

Facutly:
Rotation

Degree:
BS, Biotechnology, Nanjing Agricultural University, China
MS, Developmental Biology, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

ResearcH

 

Yu Yu

Yu, Yu

(951) 827-3178
yu.yu1@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Xuemei Chen

Degrees:
BA, Biological Science, Shenzhen University, China
MS, Botany, Shenzhen University, China

Research Interest: Small RNAs are a type of very important regulators that impact numerous biological processes in eukaryotes. They regulate gene expression at both DNA and RNA levels. My researches aim to find new players involved in small RNA pathways and study their functions.

Publications:

  1. Li S, Liu L, Zhuang X, Yu Y, Liu X, Cui X, Ji L, Pan Z, Cao X, Mo B, Zhang F, Raikhel N, Jiang L and Chen X (2013) MicroRNAs Inhibits the Translation of Target mRNAs on the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Arabidopsis. Cell 153: 562-574.
  2. Zhao Y, Yu Y, Zhai Vanitharani JR, ThanhT D, Meyers BC, Mo B, and Chen X (2012) The Arabidopsis nucleotidyl transferase heso1 uridylates unmethylated small RNAs to trigger their degradation. Current Biology 22: 689-694.
  3. Yun JK, Zheng B, Yu Y, Won S-Y, Mo B, and Chen X (2011) The role of mediator in small and long noncoding RNA production in Arabidopsis thaliana. EMBO J 30: 814-822. 
TianTian Zhu

Zhu, Tiantian

(951) 827-6420
tiantian.zhu@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Shizhong Xu

Degrees: BA, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, China Agricultural University

Research Interest: My research interest is focused on the role of auxin binding protein 1 (ABP1) in controlling cellular interdigitation in Arabidopsis.

Yi Zhu

Zhu, Yi

(951) 827-4413
yi.zhu@email.ucr.edu

Faculty: Mikeal Roose

Degrees: BS, Biology, University of Science and Technology of China

Research Interest: I'm interested in molecular analysis of induced mutation in citrus varieties. It includes both bioinformatics prediction and molecular validations for the differences between parent and mutant.

Publications: Fang P, Wang J, Li X, Guo M, Xing L, Cao X, Zhu Y, Gao Y, Niu L, Teng M. (2009) Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of Escherichia coli RNase G. Acta Cryst. F65, 586-588


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