Jorge BernyJorge

Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Student in the Gepts Lab

I study adaptation to drought in common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). The focus is to understand the genetic basis and the mechanisms of drought resistance through a better sampling of the genetic variation using complex new bi-parental and multiparent populations of wild and domesticated beans of the Mesoamerican gene pool.

Contact: jcberny at ucdavis dot edu


Nicolas Cobo

Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Student in the Dubcovsky Lab

I have a BS in Agronomy where I researched the impact of using shading nets as a method of reducing light stress in blueberries. For my PhD at UC Davis, I am study genetic resistance  to stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) using a segregating biparental population. Wheat stripe rust is one of the most devastating wheat diseases and finding new sources of PST resistance is critical to maintain an effective resistance to wheat stripe rust in the future. My work will allow us to develop tightly linked molecular markers to QTL associated to stripe rust, enabling wheat breeders to accelerate the introduction of multiple sources of resistance into their breeding materials.

Contact: ncobo at ucdavis dot edu


Youngjun (Jun) Mo

Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Student in the Dubcovsky Lab

I worked as a rice breeder at the National Institute of Crop Science of South Korea after earning my BS from Seoul National University. While working as a field breeder, I became interested in understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying agronomic traits to develop molecular tools for efficient crop improvement. For my PhD at UC Davis, I am focusing on the molecular genetic mechanisms affecting wheat spikelet number. I am exploring induced and natural genetic variation from a TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes) population, a GWAS (Genome-wide Association Study) panel, and biparental mapping populations to identify and characterize genes controlling wheat spikelet number.

Contact: yjmo at ucdavis dot edu


 Kay Watt

Integrated Genomics and Genetics Graduate Student in the Gepts Lab

My interest in agriculture stems from my time serving in the Peace Corps as a Sustainable Agricultural Systems volunteer, as well as working with Heifer International. My first degree was a BA in Religious Studies from Smith College, and my post-baccalaureate degree was a BS in Biotechnology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At UC Davis I am a second year PhD student researching drought tolerance in kabuli chickpea (Cicer arietinum) through evaluating Mediterranean landraces. I am an NSF fellow and am also interested in science communication and policy.

Contact: kay watt at ucdavis dot edu


Kelsey Wood

Integrated Genomics and Genetics Graduate Student in the Michelmore Lab

I study comparative and functional genomics of downy mildew pathgoens in the Michelmore lab at UC Davis. Our lab has recently sequenced the genomes of several downy mildews, including those infecting lettuce, spinach, tobacco, and chard. My research is focused on using bioinformatics to predict candidate effector genes and testing those candidates the lab to identify functional pathogenicity proteins. In addition to contributing to our understanding of the mechanisms of pathogenesis, the study of effectors will be useful for breeding disease resistance in lettuce. My experience in the biotech industry has taught me that scientific progress can be achieved by bridging the gap between basic and applied science. I believe that collaborations between industry and academia are vital to increase crop productivity in the face of a growing population and climate change.

Contact: klsywd at ucdavis dot edu