Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics are undergoing an exciting and dynamic time. Plant Biology graduate students have access to state of the art facilities and world class faculty who are pushing the edge of these interlocking fields. Graduates from the Program typically continue a successful career path into research and/or teaching positions in both the private and public sectors. Some of the graduates from the Plant Biology Graduate Program are among the world's leaders in Plant Biology research.

Genetics investigates the organization, transmission and function of genetic information in cells, individuals and populations. Our program offers flexible training including basic and applied laboratory and field research in various genetic subdisciplines ranging from statistical genetics to cytogenetics to evolution to plant breeding and molecular genetics. The fields of genetics and genomics are gradually merging as the tools of genomics become available to answer key questions in fundamental genetics. Genomicists are experimental biologists who probe the structure, function, and interactions of cellular components on a large scale. Bioinformatics melds the disciplines of statistics, computer science and life sciences involving computationally-oriented researchers who develop data analysis methods to understand and make sense of the large datasets generated by genomicists and other biologists. Research of participating faculty spans both life and physical sciences and with projects focusing on both agricultural and natural systems.



CE Subtropical Horticulturist

Cooperative Extension Specialist - Evaluation of preharvest and postharvest factors on subtropical crop productivity and fruit quality, including rootstocks, cultivar, irrigation, pesticide, and nutrition management strategies


Professor of Genetics & Geneticist

Gene Regulation; Translational Control; Abiotic Stress Signaling/Response; Low Oxygen Sensing; Flooding/Submergence

CHEN, Xuemei

Professor of Plant Cell and Molecular Biology

Cell fate specification and stem cell regulation in flower development; molecular mechanisms of microRNA metabolism and RNA silencing

CLOSE, Timothy J.

Professor of Genetics & Geneticist

Crop Plant Genomics and Bioinformatics; High Density Genetic Linkage Maps and Marker Assisted Selection; Barley, Citrus, Cowpea, Rice, Wheat; Abiotic and Biotic Stress Regulated Genes and Proteins; Application of Transcriptome Analyses to Biomarker Development for Citrus


Associate Professor of Plant Cell Biology

Chemical Genomics; Analysis and Exploitation of Natural Variation Using Small Molecules


Professor of Genetics

Applied population genetics emphasizing gene flow and its role in evolution of invasiveness, extinction, and transgene dispersal.

EULGEM, Thomas A.

Associate Professor of Plant Cell Biology

Plant Immune Biology; Defense Signaling; Gene Regulation; Transcriptomics, Functional Genomics 

GIRKE, Thomas A.F.

Associate Professor of Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics; Cheminformatics; Drug informatics; Databases; Expression Data Analysis, Protein Function Predictions; Data Mining; Network Analysis and Systems Biology

GONEHAL, Venugopala Reddy

Associate Professor of Plant Cell Biology

Gene Networks; Live Imaging; stem Cells; Development

JIN, Hailing

Professor and Molecular Geneticist (Cooperating Faculty Member)

Gene regulation and signal transduction of plant immunity


Professor of Nematology (Cooperating Faculty Member)

Plant-pest interactions; Resistance gene signaling and gene regulation; Pest effectors and transciptome analysis.


Professor of Genetics

Cytogenetics of crop plants, Meiotic chromosome pairing


CE Plant Biotechnologist

Cooperative Extension Specialist - Biotechnology for sustainable agriculture. Policy development and public education.

ROOSE, Mikeal L. 

Department Chair & Professor of Genetics

Genetics, genomics and breeding of citrus and asparagus; linkage mapping; marker assisted breeding; evolutionary relationships of cultivated citrus.

SACHS, Joel L.

Associate Professor of Biology (Cooperating Faculty Member)

Investigate the forces that shape bacterial cooperation with hosts as well as the origins and evolution of harmful strains. Current focus is on rhizobial bacteria that live in soils throughout the world and nodulate the roots of many legume hosts.

SPRINGER, Patricia S.

Associate Professor of Genetics

Plant developmental biology; Regulation of gene expression;  Genetic mechanisms that regulate leaf initiation and patterning.


Assistant Professor & Assistant Bioinformaticist (Cooperating Faculty Member)

We are interested in the set of genes that are required to synthesize, maintain, and remodel the cell wall as part of growth, response to stress, and developmental programs.


Professor of Genetics

Mechanisms of resistance to whiteflies in alfalfa, cassava, and Arabidopsis. Role of plastid-localized leucine aminopeptidase in regulation nuclear gene expression after injury and herbivory.


Distingished Professor of Genetics

Transposable elements in plants with a focus on the characterization of active transposable elements and a determination of how they contribute to genome evolution and adaptation.

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