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Principal Investigators

Pat Byrne

Dr. Patrick Byrne, Professor, Soil and Crop Sciences Department, Colorado State University

My research program focuses on the application of quantitative and molecular genetics to crop improvement. Through quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis, we hope to locate and characterize the genes that control abiotic stress tolerance and end-use quality in wheat, yield and oil content in Brassica oilseed crops, and fungal disease resistance in common bean.

John McKay

Dr. John McKay, Associate Professor, Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management Department, Colorado State University


We seek an understanding of the genetic basis of traits involved in adaptation to particular stresses (e.g. drought) for both applied (crop breeding, conservation, invasive species) and theoretical questions in ecology and evolution. Are adaptations due to: many genetic changes or only a few? New mutations or older alleles that persist at some frequency throughout the species range and history?

Steve Baenziger

Dr. Stephen Baenziger, Eugene W. Price Distinguished Professor, Deparment of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


I am the primary small grains breeder at the University of Nebraska. Cultivar and germplasm development are the main goals of the program. Developing improved breeding methodology, emphasizing on biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, and the use of biotechnology are two of my basic research goals.

Advisory Committee

In order to ensure that we are providing training and conducting research in the most relevant areas, we regularly solicit input from a stakeholders group that includes breeders, growers, physiologists, and agronomists. The stakeholders group provides feedback on the skills required by plant breeders and the constituents that rely upon them. Information from this committee is instrumental in shaping the course requirements, syllabi and format.

Advisory Committee members are: