1. Staff

Grass Genomics Laboratory

The Grass Genomics laboratory is engaged in generating useful genetic resources and information by using genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and high-throughput phenotyping. Our focus is to understand plant performances and behavior under environmental stress and to maximize year-round production of quality forages while minimizing input costs for farmers.

Tall fescue

Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is an important cool-season perennial forage grass grown on 14 million hectacres (about 34.6 million acres) in the U.S. Persistence during hot and dry summers is the major constraint for successful cultivation of tall fescue in the south-central Great Plains. Despite being an important forage, digestibility is still an issue that needs to be addressed for its improvement. Our goal is to develop improved cultivars that can persist better and provide good quality forage. High-throughput genotyping and advanced physiological and metabolomics approaches are implemented for developing solutions of existing as well as predicted issues limiting agricultural performance of the crop. The overall goal of the program is to develop and implement the strategies to maximize genetic gain through molecular breeding approaches targeting biomass yield, nutritional quality, persistence and disease resistance.

Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) is the most important warm-season forage species grown in the Southern Great Plains. Bermudagrass require significant amounts of nitrogen for optimum forage yields. It is important to develop forage cultivars with enhanced nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for economically viable and environmental friendly crop production. The goal of this project is to reduce traditional N-fertilizer inputs without reducing yield and nutritional quality and create a knowledgebase to further improve NUE through directed research. Genetic resources have been used to identify plants that use nitrogen efficiently, and they are used to develop improved cultivars. We are studying genetic architecture of the crop and will implement molecular breeding strategies to attain maximum genetic gain for enhanced NUE, biomass yield and nutritional quality.

Switchgrass

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial warm-season grass native to North American tallgrass prairies. It has been used as forage for livestock, rangeland restoration or as an important component of conservation reserve programs. The goal of this project is to develop genetic and genomic resources for sustainable production of switchgrass especially in marginal soils.

Shahjahan Ali, Ph.D.
Shahjahan Ali, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Bhamidimarri FFAR Cash Match

Josh Barbour
Josh Barbour

Research Assistant

Saha OCAST Biomass

Jennifer Black
Jennifer Black

Research Associate 2

Sustainable Bermudagrass Production

Konstantin Chekhovskiy
Konstantin Chekhovskiy

Research Associate 3

Sustainable Bermudagrass Production

Kimberly Cooper
Kimberly Cooper

Research Associate 2

Cool Season Legumes

Weihong Dong
Weihong Dong

Research Assistant 1 - FTT

Saha DOE CBI

Peng Fang
Peng Fang

Research Associate 1 - FTT

Bhamidimarri FFAR Cover Crop

Tim Hernandez
Tim Hernandez

Research Associate 2

Genomic Resources/Trait Development

Willy Inselman
Willy Inselman

Research Assistant 2

Hybrid Tall Fescue Breeding

Shofiqul Islam
Shofiqul Islam

Postdoctoral Fellow

Markers/Tall Fescue

Sarah Krogman
Sarah Krogman

Research Associate 2

Summer Annual Legumes

Wes Scruggs
Wes Scruggs

Research Associate 2

Hybrid Tall Fescue Breeding

Nirmal Sharma
Nirmal Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sustainable Bermudagrass Production

Xueyan Wang
Xueyan Wang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Saha DOE CBI

Acie Warner
Acie Warner

Research Assistant 1

Summer Annual Legumes

Kenny Word
Kenny Word

Research Assistant 3

Hybrid Tall Fescue Breeding