Visiting Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum
Deland Award Recipient
Dept. of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture
Agricultural Biotechnology Laboratory
1390 Storrs Rd. Unit 4163
Storrs, CT 06269-4067
PhD student, Horticulture and Plant Breeding, University of Connecticut
BS Horticulture, Iowa State University, 2014
My research is focused on breeding new and improved Aronia and related pome fruits for the commercial fruit industry and nursery trade. The objective of my research is to: 1) increase the genetic diversity of Aronia and related taxa via intergeneric hybridization, 2) study the mating systems and compatibility between these wide hybridizations and 3) develop in vitro procedures for recovering intergeneric hybrids. Interest in aronia fruit has recently increased because of their high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols and wide adaptability to various geographic regions with very few disease and pest issues. However, aronia fruit production is comprised of very little genetic diversity and fruits have an astringent taste that typically requires some form of processing before human consumption. To protect fruit growers from adverse biological and economical impacts, we are attempting to create novel types of pome fruits to diversify fruit production.
As a Deland Award recipient, I will be investigating the mating systems and compatibility between Aronia, Sorbus, Pyrus, and other closely related taxa. I will be conducting controlled pollinations in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection and analyzing pollen tube-pistil development in the microscopy lab at the Weld Hill research facility.