Graduate Students

Horticulture Graduate Students

Ibtisam Alatawi

Ibtisam Alatawi

Ph.D Student - CEMB

Advisor: Dr. Ainong Shi

"I am investigating evaluation of abiotic and biotic resistance; conduct QTL and association mapping and identify SNP markers; and study gene expression for the abiotic and biotic resistance in vegetable crops such as tomato."

Yilin Chen

Yilin Chen

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Ainong Shi

My research topic is cowpea genome-wide association study (GWAS). I will focus on the cowpea association mapping of powdery mildew resistance and morphologic traits. I am also involved in breeding activities and genetic research in arugula and tomato.

Kenani Chiwina

Kenani Chiwina

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Ainong Shi

"The aim of my study is to evaluate drought tolerance in tomato germplasm accessions and conduct genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic markers associated with tolerance to drought. Dr. Gehendra Bhattarai will supervise implementation of the project."

 

Alexander Cordoba

Ph.D. Student

Advisor: Dr. Margaret Worthington

 

 

Mason Chizk

Thomas Mason Chizk

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Dr. Margaret Worthington

 "Among horticultural fruit crops, fruit texture is often a trait of enormous importance, as it relates to both shipping potential and consumer opinion.  The primary focus of my dissertation research is to provide plant breeders with tools to expedite the improvement of texture and shipping potential in blackberry and muscadine grape by identifying efficient phenotyping techniques and predictive molecular markers.”

Eric DeBoer

 Eric DeBoer

Ph.D. Student

Advisor: Dr. Mike Richardson

“My PhD program is focused on the use of nanobubble technology to superoxygenate water for the use of irrigating gold course putting greens, as well as for use in hydroponic lettuce production.”


 

Rhiannon De La Rosa

Rhiannon De La Rosa

 M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Mike Richardson

"The focus of my research is determining the importance of seed sourcing in the context of prairie restoration. We'll be looking at the differences of phenotype in four species from several different source locations, and then focusing more closely on one grass species to determine genetic differences among sources. Our hope is to be able to inform restorationists how to make better decisions on where to get seed for an overall more successful, sustainable restoration site."

Kalyn Helms

Kalyn Helms

 M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Ryan Dickson

"I am a Controlled Environment Masters student under Dr. Ryan Dickson and my research includes evaluating the importance of controlling pH and plant tolerance to pH drift in hydroponic solutions and evaluating novel grower strategies to buffer pH and prevent nutritional and water quality issues. My side projects focus on evaluating substrates amended with wood products for the effects on plant growth and nutrition, and analyzing new controlled-release fertilizer technologies in outdoor nursery crops."

 Kayla Knepp

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Matt Bertucci

Amanda LayAmanda Lay-Walters

Ph.D. Student

Advisor: Dr. Amanda McWhirt

"My research focuses on updating fertility recommendations for Southeastern blackberry production.  She is evaluating nitrogen fertility rates for  ‘Ouachita’ blackberry production, refining leaf tissue nutrient sufficiency recommendations, and studying nitrogen allocation in Prime-Ark® Traveler."

 Jared Linn

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Aaron Cato

Leala Machesney

Leala Machesney

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Ryan Dickson

“My thesis project is working with novel blackberry production in a greenhouse environment."

Daniel O'Brien

Daniel O'Brien

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Dr. Mike Richardson

My research focuses on improving our understanding of soil surfactants (a.k.a. wetting agents), and the different ways they affect water movement & availability within the rootzones of intensively managed turfgrass systems, especially those prone to hydrophobicity.

Central to this work is an effort to differentiate, organize, and classify wetting agents based on objective, scientific research data, rather than marketing claims & terminology offered by manufacturers.

Additionally, my research seeks to develop improved application strategies for maximizing the benefits of wetting agents, examining both environmental factors corresponding to reductions in product efficacy, as well as product combinations and rotations which may enhance overall effectiveness.

While my research speaks largely to the golf course industry where wetting agents are commonly used, I also have a strong interest in exploring novel situations for using wetting agents well-beyond the golf course, so that the positive attributes of healthy turfgrass may be more fully recognized and appreciated.

 

 

Sarah Paschal

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Mike Richardson

 

 

 

 

 

Theresa Phiri


Theresa Makawa Phiri

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Ainong Shi

"My research will focus on evaluation of genetic variation of heat tolerance in tomato and studying genome wide association to identify SNP markers associated with heat tolerance in tomato. "

 

Josh Tebow

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Ryan Dickson

 

 

 

Rachel Woody-Pumford

Rachel Woody-Pumford

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr.Matt Bertucci

"My project is on vegetation management in native grasses and wildflower plantings on roadsides and for prairie restoration. Within this project, there will be a field study and greenhouse component to screen herbicides for their effect on the native grass and forb species included in the 7 seed mixtures that are part of this project, as well as on the weeds found at the field sites."

Thomas Zimmerman

M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Amanda McWhirt