Molecular Projects

Hardwood Genomics Project (Link) - The Hardwood Genomics Project is a cooperative effort of seven universities and funded by the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program. Dr. John Carlson (Pennsylvania State University) is the lead Principal Investigator for the grant, which is entitled:  “Comparative genomics of environmental stress responses in North American hardwoods.”  The project is geared toward creating genomic resources for an array of the eight most economically and phylogenetically important hardwood species in North America. This includes EST databases for 6 species, BAC libraries for 6 species (yellow-poplar, black walnut, honeylocust, sugar maple, sweetgum, and green ash), framework genetic maps for 3 species (yellow-poplar, sweetgum, honeylocust), and high density QTL maps for 2 species (northern red oak, black walnut). 

Principal and Co-Principal Investigators: Drs. Jeanne Romero-Severson (University of Notre Dame), Mark Coggeshall (University of Missouri), Haiying Liang and Meg Staton (Clemson University), Oliver Gailing (Michigan Technological University, Keita Shumaker (University of West Alabama), and Scott Schlarbaum (University of Tennessee). Dr. Nick Wheeler serves as the project’s manager. The UT-TIP and the University of Missouri, Center for Agroforestry supply the experimental material for this study.)

Supplemental NSF Grant Award for Undergraduate Exposure to Research at the University of Tennessee and Clemson University - The objective of the Hardwood Genomics Project is to create genomic resources for an array of the eight most economically and phylogenetically important hardwood species in North America. This project encompasses a mixture of basic and applied research with laboratory and field activities. The NSF funded a research experience for two highly motivated students for employment to: 1) enable these students to participate in NSF-supported research with career-enhancing experience in genomics and field activities supporting genomics; and 2) expose the students to professional scientific meetings by providing the opportunity to attend the 2013 American Society of Plant Biologists annual meeting and a parent project’s annual meeting. The students will be co-supervised Dr. Scott Schlarbaum (SES) at the University of Tennessee and Dr. Haiying Liang (HL) at Clemson University. Each student will participate in both tree breeding research with SES and molecular genetics research with HL. Such a cooperative training directly addresses one of the major issues in plant genetics, which is a lack of trained plant breeding to apply advances in genomics in plant breeding. There is a general recognition of the shortage of applied plant breeders in this country. Without these applied scientists, the practical realizations of genomics research will not occur. However, applied scientists need to have some knowledge of more basic research in order to effectively apply genomic results, while looking for new avenues of collaborative research. We feel, therefore, that an integrated Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplement, which involves exposure to both tree breeding and tree genomics, will meet a real, existing national need, as well as provide improved opportunities for employment and graduate training for the students.

At the University of Tennessee, Dr. Schlarbaum has identified Melany Moore to receive this award.  Ms. Moore is an undergraduate student in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries’ Forest Resource Management major.   Prior to coming to UT, she served in the U. S. Army and participated in the Iraq and Afganistan wars.