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Washington State University Molecular Plant Sciences

Current MPS Students

Alexander Alleman

Email: alexander.alleman@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Spring 2017
Advisor: John Peters
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

Alex joined the MPS program in January of 2017 after transferring from Montana State University’s biochemistry program. He received his undergraduate degree from Western State Colorado University in biochemistry and cell biology. Alex is passionate about studying the physiological processes and regulations of biological nitrogen fixation in soil bacteria. By studying nitrogenase and other proteins involved in cellular nitrogen fixation, Alex and the Peters group hope to find clues into how this complicated cellular process works. These insights will lead to new developments in agricultural technologies to help lessen the effect of the world’s nitrogen crisis.

Publications:
Florence Mus, Alexander B. Alleman, Natasha Pence, Lance. Seefeldt, John W. Peters. Exploring the alternatives of biological nitrogen fixation. Metallomics. (March 18, 2018)

F. Mus, B.J. Eilers, A.B. Alleman, B.V. Kabasakal, J.N. Wells, J.W. Murray, B.P. Nocek, J.L. DuBois, J.W. Peters. “Structural basis for the mechanism of ATP-dependent acetone carboxylation”
Nat. Sci. Rep. 7:7234. (2017)
Austin J. Alt

Email: austin.alt@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2021
Advisor: Rotating
Department: Rotating

Austin graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in the Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cell, & Developmental Biology) and has since joined the MPS program as a PhD student. While at ASU, his undergraduate research was focused primarily on plastid genome evolution in Cactaceae - specifically concerning patterns of ndh gene loss and chloroplast genome rearrangement in organisms such as Carnegiea gigantea (aka saguaro) and it’s phylogenetic neighbors. Current interests encompass improving society through deeper molecular understandings and genetic manipulation of plants, in order to harness natural biological processes for innovative functional applications. This includes objectives such as bioremediation and crop development, as well as metabolic engineering to enhance bioenergy and medicine.
Sajina Bhandari

Email: sajina.bhandari@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Phil Bates
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

Sajina joined MPS program at WSU in Fall 2018. She received her undergraduate degree in biotechnology from Purbanchal University, Nepal. Her research in Bates Lab focusses on understanding the oil biosynthesis pathway in plants. She studies these complex metabolic networks in oil biosynthesis using radiolabeling experiments to trace the flux into the pathway as well as transgenic approach to identify the genes involved in the oil biosynthesis in plants producing industrially important fatty acids.

Publications:

Bhandari S, Bates PD (2021). Triacylglycerol remodeling in Physaria fendleri indicates oil accumulation is dynamic and not a metabolic endpoint. Plant Physiology.

Zhou, X.R., Bhandari, S., Johnson, B.S., Kotapati, H.K., Allen, D.K., Vanhercke, T. and Bates, P.D., 2020. Reorganization of acyl flux through the lipid metabolic network in oil-accumulating tobacco leaves. Plant physiology, 182(2), pp.739-755.
Nate Boyer

Email: nathaniel.boyer@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2017
Advisor: John Peters
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

I joined the MPS program at WSU after graduating from the University of Missouri with degrees in Biology and Philosophy. My primary research interests are to understand plant-microbe interactions to inform biotech engineering efforts toward sustainable agriculture. My dissertation project investigates the biochemistry and structural biology mediating signal transduction in the regulation of biological nitrogen fixation. Successful completion of this project will inform engineering efforts to generate nitrogen bio-fertilizers. My hobbies outside of science include hiking, biking, and generally enjoying the outdoors.

Grants and Awards:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Education and Workforce Development Pre-doctoral fellowship recipient. Awarded $144,524,.00 for three years
Shaun Clare

Email: shaun.clare@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Robert Brueggeman
Department: Crop and Soil Science

I completed two and half years of my PhD at NDSU before I transferred with Robert Brueggeman to start his barley breeding program here at WSU in Fall 2019. My PhD encompasses plant pathology, genomics and bioinformatics of host susceptibility/resistance genes and pathogen effector genes within barley pathosystems. I completed my MSc at The Sainsbury's Lab/University of East Anglia in Plant Genetics under Matthew Moscou and my BSc at University of Brighton in Biological Sciences under Andrew Overall.

Publications:

Effertz, K., Clare, S., Harkins, S., Brueggeman, R. (2021). “Understanding plant-pathogen interactions in net blotch infections in cereals” in Achieving durable resistance in cereals, ed. Prof. O. Richard (Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing)

Clare, S. J., Çelik Oğuz, A., Effertz, K., Sharma Poudel, R., See, D., Karakaya, A., Brueggeman, R. S. (2021). Genome wide association mapping of Pyrenophora teres f. maculata and Pyrenophora teres f. teres resistance loci utilizing natural Turkish wild and landrace barley populations. G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics. doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab269

Tamang, P., Richards, J. K., Solanki, S., Ameen, G., Sharma Poudel, R., Deka, P., Effertz, K., Clare, S., Hegsted, J., Bezbaruah, A. N., Li, X., Horsley, R. D. Friesen, T. L., Brueggeman, R. S. (2021). The barley HvWRKY6 transcription factor is required for resistance against Pyrenohpora teres f. teres. Front. Genet. doi: 0.3389/fgene.2020.601500

Smertenko, A., Clare, S. J., Effertz, K., Parish, A., Ross, A., Schmidt, S. (2020) A guide to plant TPX2-like and WAVE-DAMPENED2-like proteins. J. of Exp. Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eraa513

Carter, A. H., Allan, R. E., Shelton, G. B., Burke, A. B., Balow, K. A., Hagemeyer, K. E., X. M. Chen., X. M., Engle, D., Garland‐Campbell, K. A., Morris, C. F., Murray, T. D., Paulitz, T., Clare, S. J., Klarquist, E .F. (2020). How ‘Madsen’ has shaped Pacific Northwest wheat and beyond. J. of Plant Reg. 14 (3):223-233. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/plr2.20049

Goodman, T., Nayar, S. G., Clare, S., Mikolajczak, M., Rice, R., Mansour, S., Bellusci, S., Hajihosseini, M. K. (2020). Fibroblast growth factor 10 is a negative regulator of postnatal neurogenesis in the mouse hypothalamus. Development. 147. 147: dev180950 doi: 10.1242/dev.180950

Clare, S. J., Wyatt, N. A., Brueggeman, R. S., Friesen, T. L. (2020). Research advances in the Pyrenophora teres-barley interaction. Mol. Plant. Pathol. 21(2): 272-288. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12896

Clare, S., Kitcher, W., Gardiner, M., Green, P., Hubbard, A., Moscou, M. (2016). Defining the genetic architecture of stripe rust resistance in the barley accession HOR 1428. BioRxiv. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/093773
Caleb Conner

Email: caleb.conner@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Bernd (Mark) Lange
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
Christopher Cote

Email: christopher.cote@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2021
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences

Christopher Cote joined the MPS program as a PhD student in 2021 and is interested in plant-bacterial interactions. He is especially interested in plant-bacterial mutualisms and the effects that Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) have on plant development. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2019 where he worked with Dr. James White and he spent two years at the University of Pennsylvania as a technician in the laboratory of Dr. Arjun Raj.

Grants and Awards:
Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellowship

Publications:
Emert, B.L., Cote, C.J., Torre, E.A. et al. Variability within rare cell states enables multiple paths toward drug resistance. Nat Biotechnol 39, 865–876 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-021-00837-3

Shaffer SM, Emert BL, Reyes Hueros RA, Cote C, Harmange G, Schaff DL, Sizemore AE, Gupte R, Torre E, Singh A, Bassett DS, Raj A. Memory Sequencing Reveals Heritable Single-Cell Gene Expression Programs Associated with Distinct Cellular Behaviors. Cell. (2020) Aug 20;182(4):947-959.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.07.003.

Abigail Eaker

Email: abigail.eaker@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Maren Friesen
Department: Plant Pathology
Karl Effertz

Email: karl.effertz@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Spring 2020
Advisor: Robert Brueggeman
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences

The first two years of my Ph.D. were spent at North Dakota State University before moving to WSU with the Brueggeman lab in 2020. My research projects revolve around a cluster of defense genes responsible for broad spectrum resistance and isolate-specific susceptibility in the barley – Pyrenophora teres f. teres pathosystem. My research interests are co-evolution, plant-microbe-environment interactions, genetics, and application of genetics/genomics in agriculture and forestry. Outside of the lab and greenhouse I love getting outdoors and exploring the beautiful pacific northwest.

Publications:
Effertz, K., Clare, S.J., Harkins, S.M., and Brueggeman, R.S. (Accepted). Understanding plant-pathogen interactions in net blotch infection of cereals. In Achieving Durable Disease Resistance in Cereals, R. Oliver, ed. (Cambridge, UK: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited), pp. 1-36.

Tamang, P., Richards, J. K., Solanki, S., Ameen, G., Sharma Poudel, R., Deka, P., Effertz, K., Clare, S., Hegsted, J., Bezbaruah, A. N., Li, X., Horsley, R. D. Friesen, T. L., Brueggeman, R. S. (2021). The barley HvWRKY6 transcription factor is required for resistance against Pyrenohpora teres f. teres. Front. Genet. doi: 0.3389/fgene.2020.601500

Smertenko, A., Clare, S. J., Effertz, K., Parish, A., Ross, A., Schmidt, S. (2020) A guide to plant TPX2-like and WAVE-DAMPENED2-like proteins. J. of Exp. Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eraa513

Brueggeman, R.S., Solanki, S., Ameen, G., Effertz, K., Poudel, R.S., and Karakaya, A. (2020). Fungal diseases affecting barley. In Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Barley, G. Fox, and C.Li, eds. (Cambridge, UK: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited), pp. 1–58.

Ssemadaali,S.A., Effertz K., Singh, P., Kolyvushko O., and Ramamoorthy, S. (2016). Identification of heterologous Torque Teno Viruses in humans and swine. Scientific reports 6 (1), 1-10
Vishnutej Ellur

Email: vishnutej.ellur@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Summer 2017
Advisor: Weidong Chen
Department: Plant Pathology

Vishnutej Ellur is a PhD student belonging to Raichur, Karnataka, India, who earned his B.Sc. (Agriculture) and M.Sc. (Agriculture) in Genetics and Plant Breeding degree from University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, Karnataka, India in 2013 and 2015 respectively. He was awarded with UASR Gold Medal for having secured the Highest OGPA in M. Sc. (Agriculture) in Genetics and Plant Breeding during the year 2014-15. He performed his masters research work at Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad, Telangana, India, where he studied cross-compatibility and characterization of interspecific hybrid between cultivated and wild diploid sunflower. In November 2016, he was awarded with the prestigious Netaji Subhas ICAR International Fellowship (NS-ICAR-IF), which is provided by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi to pursue his PhD at WSU. He joined Molecular Plant Science program and Dr. Weidong Chen’s lab in Summer 2017. His research focuses on “Genetics and mechanisms of resistance in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L)”

Publications:
Wei, W., Pierre-Pierrea, N., Peng., H., Ellur, V.,Vandemark, G. J. & Chen, W. (2020). The D-galacturonic acid catabolic pathway genes differentially regulate virulence and salinity response in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 145: 103482.

Ellur, V., Goud, S. I., & Prabakaran, A. J. (2016). Morphological and molecular characterization of interspecific cross between cultivated sunflowers H. annuus L. with wild annual diploid H. argophyllus. Electronic Journal of Plant Breeding, 7(2), 386 – 391.

Shweta., Kumar, B. D. M., Ellur, V., & Patil, S. (2016). Assessment of genetic variability and diversity in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) germplasm. Green Farming, 7(4), 819–823.

Yashoda, Gowda, T. H., Ellur, V., & Shweta. (2016). Genetic Variability and Character Association for Yield and its Components in Black Gram (Vigna Mungo (L.) Hepper). The Bioscan, 11(2), 1059–1063.

Shweta., Kumar, B. D. M., Ellur, V., & Sachin, B. M. (2015). Assessment of Genetic Variability for Morphological and Quality Traits in Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum. Mill.). International Journal of Tropical Agriculture, 33(2), 1491–1493.

Patil, S., Devi, D. B., Ellur, V., Shweta. (2015). Screening of Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Germplasm for Resistance to Root-Knot Nematodes. Trends in Biosciences, 8(17), 4681–4683.

Bharamappanavara, M., Akula, D., Muniswamy, S., Ellur, V. (2016). Correlation and Path Analysis for Yield and Yield Related Traits in Early Maturing Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan Mill Sp.) Genotypes. Journal Advances in Life Sciences, 5(10), 4005–4009.
Joel Essien

Email: joel.essien@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2021
Advisor: Sanja Roje
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
Isabella Gabriel

Email: isabella.gabriel@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: Amit Dhingra
Department: Horticulture
Andrew Gonzalez

Email: andrew.gonzalez1@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: rotating
Department: TBD
John Hadish

Email: john.hadish@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2017
Advisor: Stephen Ficklin
Department: Horticulture

John is a fourth year graduate student in the MPS program. He graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in the spring of 2016. His primary scientific interest is molecular genetics. John enjoys running, reading for fun, and cooking.
Andrew Herr

Email: andrew.herr@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Arron Carter
Department: Crop and Soil Science
Kathleen Hickey

Email: kathleen.hickey@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Andrei Smertenko
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

I joined the MPS program in the Fall of 2018. I worked in Dr. Smertenko’s Lab as an undergraduate, graduating from WSU. I am now a Ph.D. candidate in the Smertenko lab focusing on improving breeding of drought resistance wheat. My primary research interest is in how plants balance production and degradation of ROS produced during abiotic stresses. When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy reading, sewing and embroidery work, and cooking. I also enjoy backpacking and camping in the summer; skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
C_Jacques (2)Caitlin Jacques

Email: caitlin.jacques@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2015
Adviser: Michael Neff
Department: Crop and Soil Science

Caitlin graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and a B.A. in German Philosophy. Her research at UW focused on conferring drought tolerance in various crop plants by utilizing hormone signaling and genetic diversity. Her main species of focus was Phaseolus vulgaris. She would like to continue her research in crop plants, specifically relating to crop yield in challenging conditions, such as extreme temperature, moisture deficit, and climatic factors. Caitlin is particularly interested in signaling and developmental pathways, as well as herbicide and pesticide resistance.

Publications:
Favero DS, Jacques C, Iwase A, Le KN, Zhao J, Sugimoto K and Neff MM (2016) SUPPRESSOR OF PHYTOCHROME B4-#3 represses genes associated with auxin signaling to modulate hypocotyl growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiology 171: 2701-2716; doi: 10.1104/pp.16.00405
Skylar Johnson

Email: skylar.johnson@wsu.edu
Enrolled: May 2013
Advisor: Sanja Roje
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

Skylar grew up in Gig Harbor, WA, and in spring 2013 she graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a B.S. in Biology. She’s currently working in the Roje lab on the affects of flavins on plant stress responses. Summer of 2015 she also participated in the NSF EAPSI program to do related research with a lab in Japan.
June Labbancz

Email: june.labbancz@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: Amit Dhingra
Department: Horticulture
Miyoung Lee

Email: my.lee@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Norman Lewis
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
M_ Marcec (2)Matt Marcec

Email: matthew.marcec@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2015
Advisor: Kiwamu Tanaka
Department: Plant Pathology

Matthew rotated through labs here at WSU and joined Dr. Tanaka's lab. He received his masters degree from Northern Illinois University in plant sciences. He enjoys biking, hiking, martial arts, playing his bass guitar, and playing chess.

Publications:
Marcec MJ, Gilroy S, Poovaiah BW, Tanaka K (2019) Mutual interplay of Ca2+ and ROS signalings in plant immune response. Plant Sci. 283: 343-354 doi:10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.03.004

Phragmoplast microtubule dynamics – a game of zones
Authors: Smertenko, Andrei; Hewitt, Seanna L.; Jacques, Caitlin N.; Kacprzyk, Rafal; Liu, Yan; Marcec, Matthew J.; Moyo, Lindani; Ogden, Aaron; Oung, Hui Min; Schmidt, Sharol; Serrano-Romero, Erika A. Source: JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE, 131 (2):SI JAN 2018

Extracellular alkalinization as a defense response in potato cells. Moroz N., Fritch K.R., Marcec, M.J., Tripathi, D., Smertenko, A., and Tanaka, K. (2017) Front. Plant Sci. 8:32. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00032
mcgowan_M2016Matthew McGowan

Email: matt.mcgowan@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2016
Advisor: Zhiwu Zhang / Stephen Ficklin
Department: Crop and Soil Science

Matthew is currently a Ph.D. student working on collaborative projects with Dr. Zhiwu Zhang and Dr. Stephen Ficklin. He has a diverse educational background with a Master's degree in Biomedical Science and Bachelor's degrees in Microbiology and Anthropology. After working in industry optimizing molecular marker assays, he was inspired to return to academia to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular plant science. He is leveraging his budding interests in high-performance computing and data science to create bioinformatics methods that combine gene co-expression networks with statistical genomics to identify gene systems associated with agronomic traits. His goal is to develop intuitive tools and insights that help plant scientists identify novel genetic targets for engineering agronomic traits such as disease resistance, abiotic stress tolerance, and end-use quality.
Sean McGuire

Email: sean.mcguire@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: rotating
Department: TBD
Qingyan Meng

Email: qingyan.meng@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Spring 2017
Advisor: Norman Lewis
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

Qingyan Meng, a 5th year Ph.D. graduate student in the Molecular Plant Science program at Washington State University, is carrying out her PhD program research in Dr. Norman G. Lewis’ Laboratory in the Institute of Biological Chemistry. Her research is focused on the enzymology, crystallography and underlying biochemical mechanisms of various Dirigent protein subfamily members, each differentially providing entry into distinct plant phenol natural product classes (such as lignans, lignans, aromatic diterpenoids, and pterocarpans). These studies, done in collaboration with other inter-disciplinary scientists in the Lewis Lab, PNNL and Stanford SSRL, are revealing both the commonalities and distinctions between different sub-family members, and whether Dirigent protein actions include proteinaceous complexes in planta. Her most recent work was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Meng et al. 2020).

Publications:
Meng, Qingyan, Syed G. A. Moinuddin, Sung-Jin Kim, Diana L. Bedgar, Michael A. Costa, Dennis G. Thomas, Robert P. Young, Clyde A. Smith, John R. Cort, Laurence B. Davin, and Norman G. Lewis. 2020. “Pterocarpan Synthase (PTS) Structures Suggest a Common Quinone Methide–Stabilizing Function in Dirigent Proteins and Proteins with Dirigent-like Domains.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry 295(33):11584–601. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.012444.
Chun-Yeung Ng

Email: chun-yeung.ng@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Spring 17
Advisor: Thomas Okita
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
Niharika Nonavinakere Chandrakanth

Email: n.nonavinakerechand@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: Laura Bartley
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
Dylan Oates

Email: dylan.oates@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Karen Sanguinet
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences

Dylan joined the MPS program as a PhD student in August of 2019 under the advisory of Dr. Karen Sanguinet. He received his undergraduate in biology with a minor in chemistry at Nebraska Wesleyan University. During his time as an undergraduate he was employed by the USDA-ARS under the supervision of Dr. Scott Sattler, where he researched alternative bioenergy by targeting monolignol biosynthesis in sorghum. Dylan continued in the field of plant science by obtaining a MSc in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His graduate research was on understanding the systematic, functional, and molecular genetics underlying organ development in maize. He is passionate about studying the physiological and molecular genetic processes that regulate cold response in wheat. By researching vernalization and photoperiod mechanisms involved in cold response, Dylan and the Sanguinet’s lab hope to reveal how these complex networks work. These discoveries may lead to new and innovative approaches in crop bioengineering to help lessen the impact of climate change on agriculture.
Alice Olson

Email: alice.olson@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2016
Advisor: Helmut Kirchhoff
Department: School of Biological Sciences
J_Ortiz 2015Jessica Ortiz

Email: jessica.ortiz@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2015
Advisor: Michael Neff
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences

I earned my B.S. in Biochemistry at University of California, Riverside in 2011 while doing Systematics research on parasitic chalcid wasps of the genus Orasema. I then moved on to earning a M.S. in Chemistry at California State University, Los Angeles in 2016. During my master’s degree I did molecular genetics research to elucidate the functional role of lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) on senescence in Arabidopsis. I am currently interested in using molecular, genetic, biochemical, bioinformatic and biotechnological approaches to understand the role of AT-HOOK MOTIF NUCLEAR LOCALIZED (AHL) genes in plant growth and developments in Arabidopsis and Brachypodium. I aim to investigate the structure-function relationships of AHLs in Arabidopsis via physical and genetic interaction analyses. I am also interested in exploring the potential role of AHLs in the model monocot Brachypodium and their effect on seedling and root development and flowering time. Lastly, I work to testing whether the development of brassinosteroid receptor mutants in tetraploid wheat is suitable for conferring a dwarf variety with improved yield and lodging.
Alyssa Parish

Email: alyssa.parish@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2017
Advisor: Andrei Smertenko
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

Publications:
Zwack, P.J., De Clercq, I., Howton, T.C., Hallmark, H.T., Hurny, A., Keshishian, E.A., Parish, A.M., Benkova, E., Mukhtar, M.S., Van Breusegem, F., Rashotte, A.M. (2016) Cytokinin Reponse Factor 6 Represses Cytokinin-Associated Genes during Oxidative Stress. Plant Physiology. Doi:10.1104/pp.16.00415.
Janice Parks

Email: janice.parks@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: Maren Friesen
Department: Plant Pathology

Janice graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish in May 2020. During her time as an undergraduate she published a paper in IJURCA, was the first author of a report for a biodynamic winery, and a coauthor on a report for Clean Water Services. She is interested in studying beneficial plant-microbe interactions in order to determine how they can be utilized to improve agricultural sustainability and efficiency, and soil health.

Publications and Reports:
Parks, J.M., Morford, I., Anderson, V., Schnorr, J., and Sardinia, L.M. 2020. Identification of yeast species throughout fermentation in samples from a biodynamic winery. Report to Montinore Estate Winery.

Parks, J.M., Askew, N., Creagh-Grave, J.W. and Nyerges, G. 2020. Presence and abundance of antibiotic resistance genes at an organic goat dairy farm. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities. 12(1):1–12. doi: http://doi.org/10.7710/2168-0620.0309.

Andrews, A., AnDyke, K., Askew, N., Baclay, C., Bailey, G., Beadell, B., Castro, M., Fujiuchi, A., Galang, B., Hoiland, J., Jones, A., Lacaden, N., Knecht, K., Lee, A., Mayer, M., Morford, I., Osbrink-McInroy, A., Parks, J., Phan, D., Riehlman, E., Rivera, K., Rosebrook, C., Shankar, R., Sutton, C., Tanaka, L., Tran, H., Tran, K., Uehara, T., Wagner, K., Yavuz, E., and Sardinia, L.M. 2019. Comparison of microbial metabolic diversity at four locations through the flowpath at Fernhill Treatment Wetlands: A report to Clean Water Services. Report to Clean Water Services in Forest Grove, OR.

Grants and Awards:
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Graduate Student Grant - Awarded $29.982.00 for research (2021).
Luigi Peracchi

Email: luigi.peracchi@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Karen Sanguinet
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences
Josh Polito

Email: joshua.polito@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Bernd (Mark) Lange
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

Research interests include biochemistry of plant specialized metabolism, especially related to aroma and flavor.
Fabiola Ramirez Torres

Email: f.ramireztorres@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Amit Dhingra
Department: Horticulture

I got my bachelor's degree in chemistry at The Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 2015. My Master degree In Master of Sciences in Molecular Biology at the Institute for Science and Technological Research of San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 2017 my thesis was “Functional analysis of PBC1 gene involves on defense against bacterial canker in wild species of tomato using VIGS and CRISPR/Cas9.". I am interested in different techniques of biotechnology for gene editing in plants.

Publications:
Álvarez, D., Cerdà-Benasser, P., Stowe, E., Ramirez, F., Capell, T., Dhingra, A., & Christou, P. (2021). Fruit crops in the era of genome editing – closing the regulatory gap. Plant Cell Reports, (0123456789). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00299-021-02664-x

Ghogare, R., Williamson-Benavides, B., Ramirez-Torres, F., Dhingra, A. (2019) CRISPR-associated nucleases: the dawn of a new age of efficient crop improvement. Transgenic Research. doi:10.1007/s11248-019-00181-y.

Torres Rodríguez, L.M., Ramírez Torres, F.G., Gazcón Orta, N.E., Ramírez Martínez, J.F., 2017. Electrochemical and electrogravimetric studies of the deposition and catalysis of capsaicin in polyaniline: A preliminary study of the determination of chili hotness. Synth. Met. 223, 153–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.synthmet.2016.11.036

Peña-Rodríguez, L.M., Yam-Puc, A., Knispel, N., Schramek, N., Huber, C., Graßberger, C., Ramírez-Torres, F.G., Escalante-Erosa, F., García-Sosa, K., Hiebert-Giesbrecht, M.R., Chan-Bacab, M.J., Godoy-Hernández, G., Bacher, A., Eisenreich, W., 2014. Isotopologue Profiling of Triterpene Formation under Physiological Conditions. Biosynthesis of Lupeol-3-(3′- R -hydroxy)-stearate in Pentalinon andrieuxii. J. Org. Chem. 79, 2864–2873. https://doi.org/10.1021/jo402677w

Yam-Puc, A., Escalante-Erosa, F., García-Sosa, K., Ramírez-Torres, F.G., Chan-Bacab, M.J., Eisenreich, W., Huber, C., Knispel, N., Godoy-Hernández, G., Peña-Rodríguez, L.M., 2013. A case of mistaken identity: Lupeol-3-(3′R)-hydroxy-stearate can be mistakenly identified as lupeol acetate when only analyzed by GC–MS. Phytochem. Lett. 6, 649–652. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytol.2013.08.010
Montana Rayburn

Email: montana.rayburn@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2021
Advisor: Rotating
Department: Rotating

Grants and Awards:
Idaho INBRE fellowship: Received an INBRE research grant and presented research poster ("The potential role of Solanum sisymbriifolium cystatin-like protein in plant defense to Globodera pallida"), at the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research - 2020

Received the University of Idaho Alumni Excellence award - 2020

Received an INBRE grant to conduct research in industry and presented a research poster ("Correlation between E. coli and total organic carbon as a potential indicator for surface water contamination") at the Idaho INBRE conference - 2018
Miguel Rosas

Email: miguel.rosas2@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Karen Sanguinet
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences

Miguel Rosas is a first year rotating PhD student in the Plant Molecular Sciences Program. Miguel earned his Bachelors of Science in Biology from California State University San Marcos. He is currently studying brassinosteroid inactivation genes. In his spare time Miguel likes to go backpacking with friends, have bonfires at the beach, go on hikes with his dog, read science-fiction novels, and enjoy pizza with his family.
Austin Ross

Email: austin.ross@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Andrei Smertenko
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
S_Saeheng 2015Sompop Saeheng

Email: sompop.saeheng@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Spring 2015
Advisor: Sanja Roje
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

I graduated BSc. Biology from Prince of Songkla University, Thailand (2012) and got MSc. Plant Genetic Manipulation from University of Nottingham, UK (2014). Generally, my background is plant taxonomy, palynology, and cancer epigenetics. Then, I moved to US and started working in Roje’s Lab. My current research is about folate metabolic enzymes in the photorespiration pathway. I like to live in a small and peaceful town, so I think Pullman quite suits me.
S_SchmidtSharol Schmidt

Email: sharol.schmidt@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2014
Advisor: Andrei Smertenko
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry

I chose WSU for graduate school because of the excellent plant science program and the close proximity to my hometown. I love the options for outdoor recreation here and I can still tend my booming vegetable garden in the tropical paradise of Lewiston, just 30 miles away. I work in Dr. Andrei Smertenko’s lab which looks at plant cell cytoskeleton. We have found a family of Arabidopsis proteins that interact with microtubules in vivo. I hope to uncover the role of these proteins during cell cycle stages through confocal imaging of transiently expressed proteins.

Publications:
Smertenko, Andrei, Seanna L. Hewitt, Caitlin N. Jacques, Rafal Kacprzyk, Yan Liu, Matthew J. Marcec, Lindani Moyo, Aaron Ogden, Hui Min Oung, Sharol Schmidt, Erika A, Serrano-Romero. “Phragmoplast Microtubule Dynamics – a Game of Zones.” Journal of Cell Science 131, no. 2 (January 15, 2018): jcs203331. https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.203331.

Bowman, Randi M., Sharol Schmidt, Chelsea Weeks, Hunter Clark, Christopher Brown, Leigh C. Latta, and Michael Edgehouse. “Phenotypic Plasticity in a Population of Odonates.” Scientific Reports 8, no. 1 (May 31, 2018): 8442. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-26301-y.
Cassidy Shamseldin

Email: cassidy.shamseldin@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2020
Advisor: rotating
Department: TBD
Rachel Snyder

Email: rachel.snyder@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2016
Advisor: Mechthild Tegeder
Department: School of Biological Sciences
Joel Sowders

Email: joel.sowders@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Kiwamu Tanaka
Department: Plant Pathology

Publications:
Jewell JB, Sowders JM, He R, Willis MA, Gang DR, Tanaka K (2019) Extracellular ATP shapes a defense-related transcriptome both independently and along with other defense signaling pathways. Plant Physiol. 179: 1144-1158 doi:10.1104/pp.18.01301
Evan Stowe

Email: evan.stowe@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Spring 2019
Advisor: Advisor: Amit Dhingra
Department: Horticulture
Vaclav Svoboda

Email: vaclav.svoboda@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2017
Advisor: Helmut Kirchhoff
Department: School of Biological Sciences
Shelby Tisinai

Email: shelby.tisinai@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2019
Advisor: Jeremiah Busch
Department: School of Biological Sciences
Ruth Uwugiaren

Email: ruth.uwugiaren@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2021
Advisor: Michael Pumphrey
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences

Ruth Uwugiaren joined the MPS program as a Ph.D. student in 2021. She is interested in plant molecular genetics and her Ph.D. research will be focused on Spring wheat improvement via genetics and breeding. She did both her BSc and MSc in Biochemistry. Before moving to the US, she worked with the cassava breeding team at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria which focuses on using molecular tools to improve disease resistance thereby increasing yield as well as enhanced dry matter, pro-vitamin A, and low cyanide content.

Publications:

Esperance CODIJA, Bunmi Olasanmi, Paterne Agre, Ruth Uwugiaren, Adenike D. Ige, Ismail Yusuf Rabbi. (Accepted). Selection of resistance to cassava mosaic disease in Africa cassava germplasm using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism markers. South African Journal of Science.

Rabbi Ismail Yusuf, Kayondo Siraj Ismail, Bauchet Guillaume, Yusuf Muyideen, Aghogho Cynthia Idhigu, Ogunpaimo Kayode, Uwugiaren Ruth, Smith Ikpan Andrew, Peteti Prasad, Agbona Afolabi, Parkes Elizabeth, Lydia Ezenwaka, Wolfe Marnin, Jannink Jean-Luc, Egesi Chiedozie, Kulakow Peter. (2020) Genome-wide association analysis reveals new insights into the genetic architecture of defensive, agro-morphological and quality-related traits in cassava. Plant Molecular Biology.
Joel Velasco

Email: joel.velasco@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2017
Advisor: Bernd (Mark) Lange
Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
Camile Wagstaff

Email: camille.wagstaff@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2021
Advisor: David Crowder
Department: Entomology

Grants and Awards:
Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellowship recipient of Floyd Rogers Memorial Scholarship 2021-2023

Memberships:
Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA)
Entomological Journal Club
Horticulture Club

Additional Information: Here
Xin Xin

Email: xin.xin@wsu.edu
Enrolled: Fall 2018
Advisor: Michael Neff
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences