My interests are use of plant tissue culture and gene transfer techniques to improve crop plants and in the appropriate deployment and public acceptance of materials altered in these ways. I have also been active in department, college and university service, and have been successful in obtaining support for graduate student fellowships. I entered the phased retirement program in the fall term of 2007. During my phased retirement, I am focusing on teaching and service and substantially reducing my research activities.
My gene transfer work has involved collaboration with molecular biologists who provide gene constructs for use in my program and with plant breeders, pathologists and entomologists who do greenhouse and field-tests with the materials developed in the lab. A long-term area of work has been development of Bt-transgenic Brassicas for use in studies of resistance management strategies. As part of such work my lab has developed improved tissue culture procedures for plant regeneration and transformation. A current area of interest is production of doubled haploid lines for rapid recovery of stable inbred lines, especially in onion and melon. The haploid project is based on close collaboration with breeders working with these crops. Manipulation of nuclear and organellar genomes of Brassicas by protoplast fusion has been a major area of work in previous years, with particular emphasis on cytoplasmic male sterility.
Outreach and Extension Focus
Materials from my lab have been distributed to many seed companies and some have been licensed for commercial use. I interact with breeders from the public and private sector, both individually and as a group in connection with the Vegetable Breeding Institute.
My teaching goals are to offer students up-to-date concepts and hands-on experience in plant cell culture and to help them understand the technical and societal aspects of plant genetic engineering.