Our research over the years has spanned many disciplines, from extremely basic aspects of plant development and to applied biotechnology and horticulture.

This has all stemmed from two simple questions,

  1. how do plants grow and respond to internal and external factors, and
  2. can we use the knowledge and tools of plant science to improve plant productivity?

For example, we have investigated the molecular mechanisms by which seed genes are activated. We have investigated the proteins involved in energy conversion to starch. More recently, we have begun to investigate how plant biotechnology can help poor farmers in the tropics. We have also enjoyed various collaborative projects with colleagues on many diverse topics.

All of this is intertwined within a teaching and technology transfer environment, which expands the impact of our activities beyond the goal of gaining new knowledge, and publication of research manuscripts.

Each of our research projects are aimed at addressing at least one of the following issues of global importance.

  • Development of sustainable agricultural systems in support of the socio-economic development of impoverished countries.
  • Reduction of global CO2 emissions through the development and improvement of sustainable biofuel feedstock crops.
  • Building scientific capacity in developing countries through education and outreach efforts.
Plant Biology Topics
Molecular Biology of Cacao
Cacao for Peace
Cacao and Chocolate Research Network
NSF Plant Genome Research Program

Discovery and Functional Characterization of Genes Regulating Plant Immunity in Perennial Crops (NSF 1546863)

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