1. Staff

Kelly Craven, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Current Research

The Problem

A confluence of events including an increase in population from 7 billion people to 11 billion by 2100 and a dwindling world supply of arable crop land and rock phosphate necessitate efforts to produce more food with less resources.

The Approach

We aim to utilize and optimize the plant microbiome (together with the plant and environment referred to as "the phytobiome") to more effectively provide nutrients to plants and to maintain or improve crop productivity with less agronomic inputs (fertilizer, water).

Current Projects

  • Dissecting native microbiomes associated with current best agronomic practices (no-till, cover cropping); early establishment of food, forage, and bioenergy crops; and the introduction of beneficial microbes
  • Plant-microbe signaling involving serendipitoid mycorrhizae
  • Deployment and performance evaluation of endophytic microbes on forage crops in a complex, living field environment
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, 2003

Project Title: Plant feedstock genomics for bioenergy
Source: U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture
Term: 2015 to 2019

Project Title: Harnessing root endophytes (microbes) to improve nutrient acquisition and utilization in wheat and bermudagrass
Source: Noble Research Institute, Forage 365
Term: 2015 to 2018

Source: U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers
Term: 2012 to 2017

  • Craven, Grass fungal endophytes and uses thereof. U.S. Patent No. 8,975,489 (issued Mar 10, 2015).
  • Ray, et al., A symbiont for enhancement of plant performance. Unpublished (filed Jun 4, 2016).