Megan Bartlett

  • Department of Viticulture and Enology
Megan Bartlett uses modeling and experimental approaches to address fundamental questions about the physiology traits and processes that determine plant responses to drought and heat stress. Models from her lab couple a mechanistic representation of plant carbon and water dynamics with optimization approaches to understand how plants can use plasticity in structure and function to maximize growth and performance under stress, and how the optimal strategies for plasticity vary across plants with diverse traits. She uses experiments to test hypotheses generated by these models, and to understand the mechanisms, costs, and constraints underlying plasticity. 

Diane Beckles

  • Department of Plant Sciences
Research in the Beckles lab is oriented to the mission of the Agricultural Experiment Station. Thus, it centers on how pre- and postharvest environmental factors determine fruit and cereal quality and yield. Plant sugars and starch provide humans with food, feed, fuel and biomaterials, and quantitatively, are the most important parameter determining fruit postharvest and grain nutritive quality. Beckles' research, therefore, has the potential to address fundamental questions related to global food security and environmental sustainability. The approach is by necessity multidisciplinary and includes biochemistry, molecular biology, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and physiology, generally applied to tomatoes, rice, and wheat.

David Block

  • Department of Viticulture and Enology
  • Department of Chemical Engineering
David Block's research lies in the application of his training as a chemical engineer to winemaking practices. Research projects in his lab include investigating the fundamental basis of alcohol tolerance in yeast so that this tolerance can be increased in otherwise desirable production strains, and optimizing wine processing to achieve processing goals (like mouthfeel and color).

Siobhan Brady

  • Department of Plant Biology
Research in the Brady lab focuses on understanding how a network of transcriptional interactions regulates tissue development and function. Projects in the lab range from characterizing xylem and cortex cell development  in response to the environment in Arabidopsis thaliana, Sorghum bicolor, Solanum lycopersicum and the drought-adapted Solanum pennelii to determining regulatory networks underlying various components of central and specialized metabolism.

Charles Brummer

  • Department of Plant Sciences
Charles Brummer focuses on developing cultivars and germplasm of alfalfa and other crops for forage and bioenergy uses. His research has focused primarily on investigating ways to improve biomass yield, from traditional breeding method enhancements to the use of molecular markers. Current research projects include improving yield through the use of high density, genome-wide SNP markers to implement genomic selection, using QTL mapping to understand the causes of autumn-induced dormancy, and selecting alfalfa for adaptation to increased heat, drought, and salinity.

Dario Cantù

  • Department of Viticulture and Enology
Dario Cantù studies the interaction between plants and microorganisms. Researchers in his lab integrate principles of systems biology, genomics and quantitative genetics and use bioinformatics, biochemistry and molecular biology to study plant and microbial activities in a variety of contexts applied to grapes, from disease resistance, wood decomposition, to sex determination, fruit ripening, and flavor development.

Gitta Coaker

  • Department of Plant Pathology
Research in the Coaker lab focuses on biochemical interactions between pathogens and their plant hosts.  We are investigating the plant response to  vascular pathogens (Candidatus Liberibacter and Clavibacter) as well as foliar pathogens (Pseudomonas syringae and Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici).  A central pathogen virulence mechanism is their ability to secrete pathogen proteins, called effectors, that modulate their host during infection. Coaker and her lab members use effectors as molecular probes to better understand how bacteria cause disease. They also investigate the role of post-translational modifications during plant immune signaling, with a focus on kinase-mediated signaling.

Christine Diepenbrock

  • Department of Plant Sciences
Christine Diepenbrock aims to understand and improve the nutritional quality and abiotic stress resilience of staple and specialty crops, and to train the next generation of scientists to carry on this work in a broad array of crops. Her research focuses specifically on the statistical genetics, computational genomics, and phenotyping (of all throughputs) of crop nutritional quality, both content and composition. Researchers in her lab also develop integrative models for crop productivity, agronomics, and nutritional quality itself, including in the presence of abiotic stressors such as drought and/or high temperature. 

Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar

  • Department of Plant Biology
The Dinesh-Kumar lab focuses on understanding the molecular basis of host-microbe interactions in plants, including immune systems, autophagy, and cellular- and molecular-level responses to a pathogen.

Georgia Drakakaki

  • Department of Plant Sciences
Georgia Drakakaki focuses on endomembrane trafficking in plant cells. Researchers in her lab are particularly interested in trafficking pathways involved in polysaccharide deposition and plant stress response. They use multidisciplinary research approaches, including chemical biology, organelle proteomics and glycomics, genetics, quantitative advanced imaging, and modeling.