The 2011 Plant Sciences Symposium will feature five accomplished and dynamic scientists who will speak about Modern Tools for Plant Genetic Improvement.

For more information about the program schedule, go here. To register for this free event, visit this page.


Dr. Daniel Gianola

Title: “Predictology: from pedigrees and DNA to complex phenotypes”

Dan Gianola is the Sewall Wright Professor, in the Department of Animal Sciences, Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics and the Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Dr. Gianola earned his BS in Agronomy and Animal Sciences from the University of Uruguay; he then obtained a MS and PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dr. Gianola research interest focus on statistical problems in quantitative genetics and animal breeding; Bayesian approaches for inference about parameters of linear and nonlinear models, censored and discrete distributions. Moreover he is involved on international animal breeding and biometry.

Dr. Jianming Yu

Title: “Opportunities and Challenges of Genome-wide Association studies for Plant Breeding”

Jianming Yu is an Associate Professor in the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University. Dr. Yu earned his BS from Northwestern Agricultural University, MS degree from Kansas State University, and PhD from University of Minnesota.

The focus of Dr. Yu’s research has been centered on complex trait dissection, identifying molecular variation underlying phenotypic variation. His research integrates knowledge in quantitative genetics, plant breeding, genomics, molecular genetics, and statistics with an ultimate goal of developing and applying new strategies and methods in trait dissection and crop improvement. His current research includes genome-wide association analysis with diverse germplasm or multiple designed mapping populations, genomic selection to efficiently integrate high throughput genotyping into pedigree breeding, gene cloning of traits with agronomic and domestication importance, and genome and chromosome evolution across taxonomic groups.

Dr. Philipp Simon

Title: “Color, flavor, and nematode resistance: Selecting complex phenotypes in carrot”

Phil Simon is a Research Leader of the USDA-ARS, Vegetable Crops Research Unit and Professor of the Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin – Madison. Dr. Simon earned his BS in Biology from Carroll College and MS and PhD in Genetics from UW-Madison.

Dr. Simon’s research focuses on genetics and biochemistry of culinary and nutritive factors in carrots and garlic, including research on terpenoid and sugar genetics, plant cell culture, and genetic transformation.

Dr. Karen McGinnis

Title: “Epigenetic regulation of gene expression in maize.”

Dr. McGinnis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at The Florida State University. Dr. McGinnis earned her BS and PhD in Plant Biology from Arizona State University.

Her long term goal is to understand how identical genomic sequences can produce distinct expression patterns and phenotypes. In particular, her lab studies epigenetic regulation of the expression of endogenous and transgenic loci and the presence and function of alternative transcripts in plants. These phenomena have been shown to be key elements in the growth, development, and gene regulation of a broad range of organisms.

Pioneer Speaker: Dr. Radu Totir

Title: “The Application of High Density Marker Data to a Commercial Maize Breeding Program.”

Radu Totir is a Research Scientist in the Breeding Technologies group at Pioneer Hi-Bred, A DuPont Business. He earned a B.S in Animal Science from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; followed by a PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Radu Totir’s research is focused on the development and use of statistical/quantitative genetics techniques that exploit phenotypic, pedigree and DNA data collected within Pioneer breeding programs.

With an Introduction by Dr. David Miller, Research Manager directing the alfalfa research and product development program at Pioneer Hi-Bred, A DuPont Business located in Arlington, Wisconsin.

Title: “Applying the Tools for Plant Genetic Improvement to serve the Common Good.”

David Miller earned a BS in agronomy from the University of Illinois and MS/PhD degrees in plant breeding and genetics from New Mexico State University.

His research interests include the use of all technologies that will result in improved productivity, quality, longevity, and utilization of alfalfa for farmers. Dave has experience in improving alfalfa for disease and insect resistance, winterhardiness, yield, digestibility, and standability. In addition, he has experience with transgenic alfalfa and worked with the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance to foster coexistence among various stakeholders in the alfalfa industry.

Applying the Tools for Plant Genetic Improvement to serve the Common Good