Crops: Our current work is focused primarily on cereals, grain legumes, and leafy greens.
Nutrients: We have worked on the genetic basis of carotenoids (provitamin A) and tocochromanols (vitamin E) in maize grain, through extensive collaborative partnerships. We are also examining macronutrients, mineral nutrients, additional classes of antioxidants, and [reduction of] anti-nutrients (i.e., compounds that are harmful to human and/or animal health), among others. We are additionally interested in links between nutritional quality and consumer-facing traits (e.g. pigmentation and flavor of the edible portion of the crop), and in mitigating and/or reversing tradeoffs between nutritional quality and productivity.
Methods: We work with statistical genetics/computational genomics methodologies to identify the genetic basis of—and/or predict breeding values for—crop nutritional quality traits. We also integrate these methodologies with models of crop growth and development, and data representing other tissue and time scales of relevance to plant biology. Our long-term goals are as follows: 1) to contribute to fundamental understanding of the accumulation and retention of crop nutrients for human and/or animal health; 2) to help enable the integration of crop biochemistry and physiology into the breeding process, in a routine and cost-effective manner; and 3) to work, including through partnerships, to develop nutritionally dense crop varieties that are also highly productive and otherwise acceptable to growers, processors, and consumers. We are consistently expanding our methodological tool kit as well, both within and across disciplines, as needed to meet these goals and to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the underlying mechanisms (and phenomena) of crop nutritional quality and productivity, including under conditions of abiotic stress.
Please feel free to contact us for more information regarding current and pending projects and opportunities.