Sarah Mueller - Chair
Sarah Mueller is a Ph.D. candidate in Agronomy advised by Dr. Tony Vyn. Her research focuses on supplemental, late-season N applications in high-yielding corn and whether modern hybrids are more responsive to this intensive N-management regime compared to hybrids of 20 years ago. Sarah is also interested in how the timing of N application impacted N accumulation and partitioning within the corn plant during the critical period. She received her B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in December, 2014. Sarah enjoys the opportunity to conduct practical research in both detailed, small-plot experiments as well as cooperating with Indiana farmers to conduct on-farm research.
Originally from Exeter, Ontario, Stephen Boersma started his M.S. in Agronomy at Purdue University in May 2016. after graduating from the University of Guelph with a B.S. in Plant Science. His research is focused on studying the influence of maturity group and population on yield in double-cropped soybean.
Rachelle Lapham is pursuing a Ph.D. in plant molecular biology and biochemistry in the Department of Biological Sciences. She is a part of the Integrated Plant Sciences Research group and in her fourth year of study. Rachelle's lab studies the molecular mechanisms by which Agrobacterium tumefaciens genetically engineers plants to better understand and improve this process for applications in crop genetic engineering. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University in 2012 majoring in Genetics and Microbiology. Rachelle worked as a contracting molecular biologist for Dow AgroSciences after graduation and before returning to Purdue to earn a Ph.D.
Brent Mansfield earned his B.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a minor in Food and Agribusiness Management in the spring of 2016. He currently is a M.S student with Dr. Bryan Young in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology studying mechanism(s) for waterhemp resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides. The overall goal is to develop improved management strategies for PPO-resistant waterhemp, slow selection for PPO-R biotypes, and prolong the effective lifespan of PPO-inhibiting herbicides in order to lessen the detrimental impact of waterhemp on corn and soybean yields. After his completion of his M.S. degree, he plans to begin a career in agriculture research specifically related to weed science with a long-term goal of returning to his family's farming operation in West Central Illinois.
Elizabeth French is an NSF graduate fellow in the PULSe Interdisciplinary Life Sciences program in the Botany and Plant Pathology department at Purdue. her advisor is Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, and her work focuses on the molecular basis of biochar-mediated plant growth promotion and disease suppression. Her passion for molecular approaches to solving agricultural problems grew out of her experiences during her childhood in Central and South America and her undergraduate studies in molecular biology at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Blake Russell graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in April 2016 where he received his B.S. in Biology. Blake is currently a first year Ph.D. student in Plant Breeding and Genetics in the Department of Agronomy. He is advised by Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi in the small grains breeding program. Blake's research focuses on identifying the traits related to yield potential and nitrogen-use efficiency in wheat.
Zhikai Yang is pursuing his Ph.D. in crop physiology under the guide of Dr. Cankui Zhang, after receiving his B.S. from NWAFU in China. His field of study is the transportation of C and N in phloem.
Peng is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Clint Chapple's lab at Purdue University. She obtained her B.S. in Life Science from Nanjing University in China where she built great interests in plant biology and decided to work on plant science research. In the Chapple lab, Peng uses a systematic combined approach of mathematics and biochemistry to investigate the allocation of carbon flux in plant specialized metabolism. Through her study Peng is fascinated by the diverse biochemical phenotype in the plant kingdom.
Travis earned his B.S. in biology from Brigham Young University in 2010, and a M.S. in plant breeding and genetics from Purdue University in 2016. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. in corn breeding, using elite commercial inbreds with expired Plant Variety Protection certificates. His Ph.D. research topics include comparing the effectiveness of genetic-based selection methods and using genomic prediction to produce new and improved inbreds. After graduation in May of 2018, he plans to begin working as a commercial plant breeder.
Heather Pasley is a Ph.D. candidate in Agronomy studying soil nitrogen depletion in Kenya and Zimbabwe. She is co-advised by Dr. James Camberato and Dr. Tony Vyn. Her future plans are to work in the public sector to help improve the level of agricultural research being conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Clayton Nevins earned his B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Purdue in 2015 and is currently a second year M.S. student in the Ecological Sciences and Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at Purdue. Clayton is advised by Dr. Shalamar Armstrong in the Agronomy Department, and his research is focused on gaining a deeper understanding of how cover crop species impact enzyme activity, nitrogen supply, and soil microbial community diversity during the corn growing season.
Fabiana Freitas Moreira
Born and raised in rural Brazil, Fabiana Freitas Moreira is a Ph.D. student in Agronomy studying soybean breeding. She is advised by Dr. Katy Martin Rainey. Her research focuses on high-throughput phenotyping to improve soybean breeding, especially for selection of high-yielding lines.
Megan Taylor is pursuing her Ph.D. in Crop Physiology. She currently works on Switchgrass flowering time and biomass traits, using QTL mapping to discover genes related to biomass yield and flowering time. This research is being completed under the direction of Dr. Yiwei Jiang. Megan received her B.S. from Manchester University.