Mohsen Mohammadi, PhD & Research Leader

Mohsen Mohammadi is showing the spike of wheat to a news person.

Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi’s training involved field-based breeding, molecular biology, and genome-wide prediction-based breeding. In his PhD research, he identified novel dehydration responsive genes in wheat roots using global transcriptional profiling. Prior to joining Purdue Agronomy, he has been a traditional and marker-based wheat and barley breeder. He also developed a genome-wide breeding algorithm know as PopVar (Mohammadi et al., 2015) that enables predicting genetic variance expected from biparental crosses. At Purdue Agronomy, his role is to provide a learning environment for genetics, quantitative genetics, and breeding. His research program involves trait identification and genetics. 


Sintayehu Daba, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sintayehu Daba smiling in the greenhouse after watering his wheat and barley plants

Dr. Daba is a small grain breeder with over 15 years of barley and wheat breeding experience in the Ethiopian Barley Program and in the US. During his PhD at North Dakota State University, he characterized agronomic, malt quality, and disease resistance traits in barley landraces and breeding lines from Ethiopia, International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), and North Dakota State University (NDSU). He is investigating long-term and short-term signatures of selection at the genome scale in wheat. He uses a wheat population that represents 200 years of history in the United States. This population consists of accessions developed prior and after the Green Revolution. Dr. Daba is also mapping agronomic traits in wheat using GWAS and QTL mapping for kernel weight, Plant height, and Fusarium head blight (FHB) disease resistance.


Blake looking at wheat root in greenhouse

Blake Russell, Graduate Student

Blake is a graduate research assistant and a PhD student in the Department of Agronomy. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Indiana Wesleyan University where he was involved in Dr. Miller’s plant biology lab and a member of the men’s golf team. Blake’s research aims at a) characterizing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and b) studying yield potential contributing traits in soft red winter wheat germplasm, He uses yield trials in contrasting nitrogen environments to characterize NUE traits. He also uses the US SRWW elite panel (USEP) to identify genotype-phenotype relationship for yield related traits.



Portrait of Rupesh Gair

Rupesh Gaire, Graduate Student

Rupesh completed his BSc in Agriculture at Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He continued his education at the University of Georgia, US towards a Master’s degree in plant breeding and genetics, where he studied genomics and natural allelic variation of genes involved in flowering time and plant architecture in blueberry. His research at Purdue aims at implement and advance genome-wide predictive approaches for traits of economic importance such as yield and FHB resistance. Rupesh studies genome-wide diversity and predictions using >400 SRWW lines developed at Purdue (the Purdue panel). His field program involves two years of complete field-based phenotyping for yield traits and FHB resistance.




Picture of Savannah Beyer

Savannah Beyer, Graduate Student

Savannah graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s degree in Genetics. During that time, she worked at the USDA-ARS Cereal Crops Research Unit on the genetics of barley to improve malt quality. She is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Agronomy 320 Genetics and a Research Assistant for Dr. Mohammadi in the Agronomy Department at Purdue University. Her research involves candidate gene discovery of genes that are important for root growth and development in wheat.




Seth picture while standing for a bus

Seth Tolley, Graduate Student

Seth is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Agronomy.  He is working on a wheat physiology project focusing on traits impacting nitrogen uptake efficiency using lines from around the world. Furthermore, he will also be working in the greenhouse to evaluate hypotheses obtained from this data. Seth is interested in advancing this research by utilizing remote sensing technology to evaluate a breeding panel. He is excited about the prospect of further opportunities at Purdue.





Khoshal Saber standing in wheat crossing greenhouseKhoshal Saber, Undergraduate Researcher

Khoshal has been with Purdue Small Grains Breeding Program for the last two years. Khoshal was an Ivy Tech Community College student. He recently transferred to Purdue as a undergradaute student. He is involved in all aspects of the breeding program.





 Picture of Robert

Robert Z Shrote, Undergraduate Researcher 

Robert Shrote is a junior in the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University. He is majoring in Plant Genetics, Breeding, and Biotechnology and minoring in Statistics and Biochemistry. His research interests include using high-throughput sequencing, molecular markers, RNA-Seq, qPCR, and computer systems to identify trait loci and solve breeding problems. His future goals are to attend graduate school and become a commercial corn or small grains breeder.





Picture of Madison

Madison Kramer, Undergraduate Researcher

Madison Kramer is currently a senior at Purdue University majoring in Agribusiness Management with a double minor in Crop Science and Farm Management. She is also a Research Assistant for the Agronomy Department. Her focus will be 1) developing wheat crossing and breeding nursery management; and 2) assisting with seed packaging, implementing and participating in planting yield trials. During her time at Purdue, she has been involved in the Agribusiness Club and a part of the Agricultural Economics Envoy team. Upon graduation, she will be furthering her education and pursuing a Master’s Degree in the field of Agronomy.


Zack's picture

Zach Hartley, Undergraduate Researcher

Zach Hartley is a freshman in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. He is majoring in Plant Genetics, Breeding, and Biotechnology and minoring in Biotechnology. Zach’s primary research goal is to create tougher crops that are tolerant of heat stress and are resistant to diseases and pests through genetic engineering. At Small Grains Breeding Program, Zach is developing expertise for agriculturally important traits and genes in wheat. Specifically, he is learning theoretical and practical aspects of evaluating Fusarium head blight resistance in wheat, a project funded by the US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative. He is also learning wheat and Arabidopsis mutant plant characterization. His future aspiration, after obtaining a PhD in biotechnology, is to become a world leader in international agriculture and aid developing nations’ food shortages.



Picture of Alexis Himes, undergraduate student

Alexis Himes, Undergraduate Researcher

Alexis is a junior at Purdue University, studying Plant Genetics, Plant Breeding, and Biotechnology. Her long-term goal is to increase farmer’s yields and profitability. She is involved in characterizing wheat and Arabidopsis mutant plants for genes involved in root traits. Her research plan includes analyzing gene homology, finding Arabidopsis mutant plants for genes of interest, designing PCR primers, performing PCR and low-throughput sequencing to characterize mutants, and wheat backcrosses to remove background EMS mutations.




                         Former lab members                           


Prabin standing in a samll grain field

 Dr. Prabin Bajgain

Prabin obtained a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Minnesota. He worked on the analysis of large scale next generation sequencing data. Specifically, he performed bioinformatic analysis of nitrate and ammonium transporters in wheat and used RNA-seq data to characterize in root and in-shoot expression of these gene families. Prabin joined a breeding program at the University of Minnesota after working for Purdue for about two years. 



Picture of Dr. Rostamza

Dr. Mina Rostamza

Dr. Rostamza holds a PhD in Agronomy from Iran. Dr. Rostamza’s research goals were 1) phenotyping roots in a collection of soft red winter wheat lines and 2) evaluating the response of a collection of wheat to varying availability of nitrogen. Dr. Rostamza was in our program for about 7 months as a postdoctoral research assistant. 





Picture of Allyson Grasso


Allyson Grasso

Allyson was a Biochemistry 498 independent research undergraduate student in my laboratory.  After two semesters in my laboratory, she graduated and pursued a Master’s in chemistry education at the University of Virginia. 




Picture of Christian Web

Christian Webb

Christian was the pillar of field work activity in the summer of 2015. In fall 2015, he started a PhD program in plant pathology at Kansas State University.



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