Research Interests and Expertise
My research program focuses on developing cultivars and germplasm of alfalfa and other crops for forage and bioenergy uses. My research has focused primarily on investigating ways to improve biomass yield, from traditional breeding method enhancements to the use of molecular markers. My current research projects include improving yield through the use of high density, genome-wide SNP markers to implement genomic selection. We are also using QTL mapping to understand the causes of autumn-induced dormancy, so that additional fall yield can be produced without sacrificing needed levels of winter hardiness. In addition to yield, selecting alfalfa for adaptation to heat, drought, and salinity are components of my program.
Education and Training
3/93 Ph.D. University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 Agronomy / Plant breeding.
12/89 M.S. University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Agronomy / Plant breeding.
5/86 B.S. Penn State Univ., State College, PA 16802 Agronomy (honors and high distinction).
2014-present Director and Professor, Center for Plant Breeding, Plant Sciences Department, University of California, Davis.
2010-2014 Director and Senior Vice President, Forage Improvement Division, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK.
2007-2010 Director, Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics, Univ. of Georgia.
2006-2010 Professor, Crop and Soil Sciences Department, Univ. of Georgia, Athens.
1994-2006 Assistant, associate, full professor, Agronomy Department, Iowa State Univ.
1993-1994 Postdoctoral research assistant, Agronomy Department, Iowa State Univ.
1989-1993 Research assistant,Agronomy Department, Univ. of Georgia, Athens.
1986-1989 Research assistant, Agronomy Department, Univ. of Georgia, Athens.
1985-1986 Independent Study, Agronomy Department, Pennsylvania State Univ.
Additional Professional Experience
2011-present Adjunct professor, Crop and Soil Sciences Dept., Univ. of Georgia, Athens.
Fellow, Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan, 24 June–30 July 2007.
Visiting professor, Department of Primary Industries, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. 8 Oct.–31 Dec. 2007.
Visiting professor, AgResearch, Palmerston North, New Zealand. 1 Jan.–23 March 2008.
Awards, Honors, and Recognition
Young Crop Scientist Award, Crop Science Society of America, 2002
Raymond and Mary Baker Agronomic Excellence Award, Iowa State University, 2002
Gerald O. Mott Scholarship, 1992, National award for outstanding graduate student in agronomy
Crop Science Society of America
Associate Editor, Crop Science, 2001-2008
Associate Editor, Journal of Plant Registrations, 2008-2010
Chair, Ad hoc committee recommending creation of Journal of Plant Registrations
Member, Ad hoc committee to develop submission guidelines for JPR
Liason to AOSCA National Grass Variety Review Board, 1998–2001
Frank M. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources Committee, 1999–2002 (Chair 2001-2)
North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference
President – 2012-2014; Vice-President, 2010-2012
Secretary, 2008- 2010
Biotechnology Committee, 1996-present
Liason to AOSCA National Alfalfa Variety Review Board, 1998–2001
Committee on Available Breeding Lines of Alfalfa, Chair, 1997-2008
Grass Breeders Workshop
Chair, 2008-2010; Vice Chair, 2006-2008; Meeting host, 2006, Ames, IA
Regional Hatch Project NE-1010: Forage Crop Genetics and Breeding to Improve Yield and Quality; Official representative, 1994–2010; Secretary, 2010-, 1995-96; Chair, 1996-97; Acting Chair, 1998
Associate Editor, 2007-present
U.S. Legume Crops Genomics Initiative
Vice-Chair, Steering Committee ; elected representative for forage legumes – 2002-2006
Caucus on the Future of Public Plant Breeding (“Seeds and Breeds”)
Organizing member, 2000-present
National Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee (SCC-80)
Official representative, 2006 – 2010
Chair, Subcommittee on “Harmony with the Environment” 2007-2008
Alfalfa Crop Germplasm Committee
Member, 1998-2008; Secretary, 2001-2; Chair, 2002