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Current Graduate Students

Yu-Ming Li:  Yu-Ming works on a targeted GBS genotyping platform for breeding and prediction applications in forest trees. The research aims to test a small subset (about 1000) of GBS markers selected from Pita50K array, impute the genotypes up to 10K markers using a high-density linkage map and use the original GBS markers and imputed genotypes for quality control and genomic selection. If successful, the new genotyping platform is expected to reduce the cost of genotyping by at least 50%. Funding: NIFA Plant Breeding Program Awar. 2019-67013-29169

Molly Irvin: Molly works on virulence variation in Cronartium fusiforme fungus, a pathogen of pines in the southern USA. One of the fundamental questions in the research project is to understand how fungal genes overcome pine resistance genes. Artificial inoculations, genotyping host progeny, sequencing the single spore isolates of fungal populations and variant calling from the sequencing data are employed in the research. Funding: NSF-NIFA Plant Biotic Interactions Program, Award #: 2022-67013-37717.

Former graduate students


Khushi Goda (August 2022): Thesis: Optimal mating designs and software for monoecious forest tree species Pinus taeda L.

Adam Festa (June 2022): Adam was mainly advised by Dr. Ross Whetten. Adam works for Bayer Crop Science as a data scientist. Thesis: Applications of Genomics in Loblolly Pine Breeding. 

Colin Jackson (May 2022): Colin was co-advised by Dr. Juan Acosta and me. Colin accepted a position with Arborgen Inc. Thesis: Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Discovery and Probe Design Using RNA-Seq and Targeted Capture in Tropical and Subtropical Pine Species.

Trevor Walker (March 2022): Trevor continues to work with the Cooperative Tree Improvement Program, managing the breeding logistics and database.
Thesis: Genetic Parameters and Genomic Selection for Growth and Wood Quality in Pinus taeda L.

Mphahlele Mmoledi (2021)Mmoledi finished his Ph.D. successfully in 2021 at the University of Pretoria, South Africa (co-advised by Zander Myburg and Gary Hodge). Mondi, South Africa. Thesis: Application of genome-assisted breeding in Eucalyptus grandis.

Eddie Lauer (2021): Quantitative geneticist, PEAK genetics, Urus. Dairy and beef cattle breeding.
Thesis: Integration of Genomics and Classical Quantitative Genetics in the Improvement of Growth Traits and Disease Resistance in Pinus taeda L.

Nasir Muhammed Shalizi (2020): Post-doctoral scientist, Cooperative Tree Improvement Program, NC State University.
Thesis: Genetic Parameter Estimates and Prediction of Genetic Merit in Clonal Populations of Pinus taeda L. using Expected and Realized Genomic Relationships.

Alfredo Farjat (2015): Bayer Crops Science, London, UK.
Thesis: Optimal Seed Deployment under Climate Change using Spatial Models and Prediction of Genetic Merit in Loblolly Pine.

Funda Ogut (2012): Quantitative geneticist, Canadian Forest Service, New Brunswick, Canada.
Thesis: Predictions of Genetic Merit in Tree Breeding Using Factor Analytic Linear Mixed Models and Blended Genomic Relationship Matrices.

Jaime Zapata (2011): Quantitative geneticist, Arauco, Chile
Thesis: Incorporation of Molecular Marker and Spatial Data into Analysis of Clonally-Replicated Progeny Tests.


Sarah Conner (2022).
Genetic Variation in Pinus taeda L. Populations for Fusiform Rust Disease Incidence from Artificial Inoculations and Correspondence to Field Trials.   

Sinem Satiroglu (2021)
Turkish Forest Tree Breeding Research Institute, Ankara, Turkey
Thesis: Genetic Parameters Estimates from Pinus taeda L. Fourth Cycle Coastal Breeding Population

Ugur Memis (2021)
Turkish Forest Tree Breeding Research Institute, Ankara, Turkey
Thesis: Genetic Parameter Estimates in Pinus taeda L. Accounting for Genetic Groups

Syamsudin Ahmad Slamet (2020)
Quantitative geneticist. Sinarmas, Indonesia.
Thesis: Prediction of Breeding Values from Row-Column Designs in Pinus taeda Progeny Tests in the Southern US.

Jessica Maynor (2018)
Arborgen, South Carolina, USA.
Thesis: Provenance Variation in Biomass Potential for Improved Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) Families at a Piedmont Site in North Carolina

Andrew Sims (2017)
University of Florida, USA
Thesis: Genetic Parameter Estimates from 3rd-Cycle Pollen Mix Progeny Tests in Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.)

Serenia Larrison (2017)
Rayonier, USA
Thesis: Soil Compaction in Loblolly Pine Seed Orchards and the Impacts on Tree Health and Cone Yields.

Tyler Eckard (2008)
Bayer Crop Science, California, USA.
Thesis: Rapid screening for solid wood quality traits in clones of Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) by indirect measurements.