Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Scot Hulbert and Dr. Zhiwu Zhang
It is my dream to be a plant breeder. I want to make positive contributions to the world by improving our world’s foods, feeds, and fuels through the development of new and existing crops. Specifically, I’m interested in oilseed crops utilized in the production of biodiesel. I want to further my biochemistry research understanding by analyzing enzyme or protein interactions, specific seed oils and the fuels they make, as well as other biochemical processes that could facilitate biofuel production.
Taking over Dr. Scot Hulbert’s Camelina breeding program in Summer 2016 has been the perfect fit for me. Camelina sativa is a flowering plant in the Brassicaceae family, traditionally cultivated as on oilseed crop to produce vegetable oil and animal feed. Camelina is unique due to the exceptionally high levels of omega-3 fatty acids its contains (up to 45%), which is uncommon in vegetable oils. My research project will examine the genetics of economically important traits in Camelina, including seed size, oil content and oil composition. Molecular markers will be used to localize QTL controlling the traits. The genomic sequences will be used to examine potential candidate genes and useful germplasm identified will be advanced in our breeding program.
Before coming to WSU, I worked for three years as a field technician with Dr. Shawn Kaeppler and Dr. Natalia de Leon’s field corn breeding research group at UW-Madison where I gained real-world plant breeding experience that perfectly prepared me for my current role heading up Dr. Hulbert’s Camelina Breeding Project.
Educational background: B.S. Macalester College