2018 Clemson Integrated Plant Sciences Symposium

Presented by Clemson Translational Genomics Association and The DuPont Pioneer Symposia Series

Clemson Translational Genomics Association and the Dupont Pioneer Symposia Series Present: Clemson University Integrated Plant Sciences Symposium on April 20th, 2018

2018 Speakers


Susan McCouch

Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and of Plant Biology at Cornell University

She received her PhD from Cornell in 1990 and spent 5 years with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines before joining the Cornell faculty in 1995. Her research focuses on rice and includes publication of the first molecular map of the rice genome in 1988, early QTL studies on disease resistance, drought tolerance, maturity and yield, development of the essential repertoire of SSR markers widely used as a genomic resource in rice genetics and breeding, cloning of genes underlying critical traits for rice improvement and studies on the evolutionary history of rice in both Africa and Asia. Her current work focuses on the identification and characterization of genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL) from low-yielding wild and exotic Oryza species that enhance the performance of modern rice cultivars. She has trained scores of young scientists throughout the world and was recently elected a fellow of the AAAS and has received numerous teaching and faculty awards.


Stan Cox

Senior Scientist, Land Institute

Stan was a wheat geneticist in the US Department of Agriculture for 13 years before joining The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas as a senior scientist in 2000. When not working as a plant breeder in the field and greenhouse, he has written three books: Sick Planet: Corporate Food and Medicine (Pluto Press, 2008); Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (And Finding News Ways to Get Through the Summer) (The New Press, 2010); and Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing (The New Press, 2013). Since 2003, he has regularly written investigative pieces, op-eds, and other articles for a wide range of Internet and print publications. His articles have appeared in wide range of newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, in 43 states and several countries.


Dan Nettleton

Laurence H. Baker Chair in Biological Statistics . Director, Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics, Iowa State

Dan Nettleton conducts research on statistical methods for the design and analysis of high-dimensional biological datasets. Example data types include transcriptomic data from microarrays or RNA-sequencing, microbiome data, genomic data for use in genome-wide association studies, and data on complex phenotypes. Since joining  Iowa State University  in 2000, his  work has been heavily influenced by numerous collaborations with leading plant and animal scientists who seek to understand the functions of genes in biological systems and to learn how genotype and environment interact to shape important phenotypes. Nettleton also works on the development of statistical learning methodology and have enjoyed applying such methods to problems in sports analytics.


Jianming Yu

Professor and Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding in the Department of Agronomy, Iowa State

The focus of Yu’s program is to address significant questions in plant breeding by combining cutting-edge genomic technologies and quantitative genetics theories. All members of this research program conduct empirical experiments in plant breeding and genetics and contribute to summer and winter nursery work, and many of them also carry out computer simulations or bioinformatics research to generalize their specific findings to a broad context. Yu's research integrates knowledge in Plant Breeding, Quantitative Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Genetics, and Statistics, and has the ultimate goal of developing and implementing new strategies and methods in trait dissection and crop improvement.


Philip Benfey

Philip N. Benfey graduated from the University of Paris and received his  PhD in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University under the guidance of Dr. Philip Leder. Philip is the recipient of an NSF predoctoral fellowship and a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellowship. He was named a fellow of AAAS in 2004 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. In 2011, Philip was named an investigator by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation under an initiative to support fundamental plant science research. He currently serves on the editorial boards of ScienceDevelopmental Cell, and BMC Plant Biology. Philip’s research focus is to understand how cells acquire their identities. To answer this question, he uses Arabidopsis thaliana root as a model system because of its simplicity, organization, and organized pattern. 


Emily Combs

Research Scientist, DuPont Pioneer

Emily is a corn breeder whose research focuses on increasing genetic diversity in 95-105 CRM corn inbreds and commercial hybrid development for the US corn belt.  She received her PhD in Applied Plant Sciences from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities where she was advised by Dr. Rex Bernardo and researched genome wide selection in corn.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in genetics and development from Cornell University.


Clemson University’s unique position to serve state, national and global communities through developing and enabling cutting-edge strategies and technologies in computational genomics (discovery and diagnostics) and bioinformatics to address critical problems in the continuum linking agriculture, human health, and the environment. 


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