Urbana, IL 61801
Understand mechanisms of plant nutrient uptake in response to climate change and find ways to adapt plants for improved nutrient quality.
Although yield is a primary consideration for crop development, the nutritional quality is often important as well. The value of some crops is highly dependent on specific quality characteristics, where, for example, soybeans with more protein often demand higher prices. Quality is also a critical consideration for some food-insecure populations, particularly those in which plant-based diets are the primary source of nutrients.
Many of the details of nutrient acquisition are understood, but there has not been an effort to combine the separate parts into a wholistic crop growth model. Such a model could provide insight into potential strategies to improve crop nutritional quality in the same way that these models have identified ways to improve yield. The focus of my lab is to understand and incorporate nutrient uptake and distribution mechanisms into a crop growth model and use this model to identify steps that limit crop nutrient quality. There is a focus on effects of climate change, since climate is known to affect crop quality, in particular, elevated carbon dioxide concentrations often cause reduced protein concentrations in harvestable portions of crops.
B.S., Bradley University
Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign