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Research Faculty

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Portrait Name & Summary
George Allen

Dr. George C. Allen, Research Associate Professor, Director, NCSU Plant Transformation Laboratory. Applied research program improves production of economically important transgenic plants and works between NCSU plant breeding and NCSU molecular biology programs. Research understands higher-order nuclear structure impacts on transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing, DNA replication, and developmental processes.

Hamid Ashrafi

Dr. Hamid Ashrafi, Assistant Professor, Blueberry Breeding and Genetics. Applied research program focuses on molecular breeding through marker assisted selection, genetic mapping, QTL analysis, bioinformatics and statistical genomics.

Roger Batts Mr. Roger B. Batts, Field Research Director, NC State IR-4 Field Research Center. Conducts field residue trials and herbicide screening trials to support pesticide registrations for fruits, vegetables and other minor/specialty crops.
Sylvia Blankenship Dr. Sylvia M. Blankenship, Professor. Research focuses on postharvest physiology of apples, including ethylene physiology and biochemistry, and ripening and other changes of senescence. Looks at skin adhesion and postharvest handling in sweetpotatoes also research topics.
Allan Brown Dr. Allan Brown, Assistant Professor. Research focus is development of molecular markers for traits of value in fruit and vegetable crops to improve broccoli lines by extenion human health.  Seeks to identify compounds associated with cancer prevention. Also oversees Blueberry Genome Project seeking to create the first genomic draft sequence of blueberry.
Jim Burton Dr. James D. Burton, Associate Professor. Research focus on natural products and nutaceuticals, specifically factors that regulate the biosynthesis of DIBOA and other allelochemical with a goal toward developing a rye cover cropping management system that will provide consistent and effective weed control.
Mark Clough Mr. Mark E. Clough, Researcher. Research focus is on Irish (white) potato production, breeding and genetics, specifically on developing high quality potatoes adapted to North Carolina growing conditions. Mark is based at the Vernon G. James Research & Extension Center.
Steve Clouse Dr. Steven D. Clouse, Professor. Research focus is on plant molecular biology and biochemistry, and applications to horticultural crops.  Research emphases include regulation, plant gene expression during development; molecular mechanisms, plant hormone action, particularly brassinosteroids; functional genomics and proteomics; function, receptor kinases, plant signal transduction.
Nancy Creamer Dr. Nancy G. Creamer, Professor. Director, Center for Environmental Farming Systems.  Research focus on  long-term comparative farming systems trials, organic transition strategies, using winter and summer cover crops in vegetable production systems, determining optimum cover crop mixtures, allelopathic suppression of weeds, and organic vegetable production.
Jeanine Davis

Dr. Jeanine M. Davis, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist. Located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in Mills River, Dr. Davis helps farmers improve sustainability and profitability of their farms by optimizing organic production systems, introducing and developing new crops, and improving the sustainability of commercial vegetable production systems. Particular focus is on NC medicinal herbs

John Dole Dr. John M. Dole, Department Head and Floriculture Professor. Conducts research primarily on cut flowers (new cultivar evaluations, production studies, postharvest experiments, and marketing analysis), poinsettias, and rooted and unrooted cuttings (production and postharvest handling, in cooperation with Jim Faust).
Barbara Fair Dr. Barbara Fair, Assistant Professor. Research concentration in soil and water issues in the landscape and field trials directed at specific genera.
Gina Fernandez Dr. Gina E. Fernandez, Professor. Conducts research on small fruits in North Carolina.  Leads Rubus (raspberry and blackberry) breeding program. Seeks to grow the blackberry and respberry industries through small fruit program Team Rubus.
Bill Fonteno Dr. William C. Fonteno, Professor. Director, Horticultural Substrates Laboratory.  Research focus on floriculture and plant-soil-water-nutrition relations of container-grown crops.  Areas of interst include physical properties of horticultural substrates, water use and delivery systems, and computer modeling of aeration and drainage in horticultural substrates.  
Chris Gunter
Dr. Chris C. Gunter, Assistant Professor. Specializes in vegetable production for the commercial vegetable industry in North Carolina, working with commercial vegetable growers to maintain a high quality of life through the use of integrated, economical and environmentally sound production practices.  His main emphasis is with the Solanaceous (tomato, pepper) and Cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli) cropping systems.
Brian Jackson Mr. Brian E. Jackson, Assistant Professor. Research areas are nursery production and use and development of wood substrates as alternatives for pine bark and peat moss for horticultural crop production.
Katie Jennings Dr. Katie M. Jennings, Research Assistant Professor. Research area is weed management in small fruits and vegetables.  Focus on herbicide efficacy and carryover, weed/crop competition, weed biology, and field residue studies.
Julia Kornegay Dr. Julia L. Kornegay, Professor and Director of Graduate Programs. Research focus is on breeding and selection of annual and herbaceous perennials with attractive floral characteristic, good plant architecture, enhanced postharvest vase life, adapted to local growing environments, and non-invasive, primarily for cut flower production inthe southeast US.
Sergei Krasnyanski Dr. Sergei R. Krasnyanski, Senior Researcher, Plant Transformation Laboratory (PTL). Research collaboration programs and consulting on plant tissue culture and plant transformation training. Aim is to improve existing plant regeneration/transformation protocols of economically important crops. Develops new plant transformation systems that will become available in the public domain.
Helen Kraus
Dr. Helen T. Kraus, Assistant Professor. Research interests include improving irrigation and fertilizer efficiency and utilization of composts in container-grown ornamental plant production, nutrition of woody and herbaceous perennial ornamental plants and substrate and plant selections for rain gardens.
Anthony Lebude Dr. Anthony LeBude, Assistant Professor and Nursery Extension Specialist. Research focus is on developing new technologies for growers to understand and implement effective best management practices to optimize ecosystem services; and evaluating new plant introductions and cultivars for adaptation to the southeast.
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Mr. Wayne E. Mitchem, Research and Extension Associate. Research areas are herbicide screening, fruit crops and weed/crop interactions relating to critical weed-free periods for fruit.   

Joe Neal Dr. Joseph C. Neal, Professor. Research interests include development of effective and environmentally sound weed management strategies for nursery crops and landscapes, biology and management of recently introduced weeds, and bio-based alternatives to traditional herbicides including plant pathogens and natural products for weed control.
Dillip Panthee

Dr. Dilip R. Panthee, Assistant Professor. Fresh market tomato breeding program emphasizes the development of improved cultivars adapted to production in North Carolina and surrounding areas. Currently, emphasis is on improving disease resistance, stress tolerance and fruit quality using conventional and molecular breeding approach.

Mike Parker Dr. Michael L. Parker, Associate Professor. Research areas: apple rootstocks, peaches and alternative tree fruit crops, primarily applied in nature.  Areas of interest:  cultural management strategies, rootstock performance in the southeast, peach thinning, planting systems and orchard floor management.
Ken Pecota Dr. Kenneth V. Pecota, Researcher. Research emphasis is on developing high quality sweetpotatoes adapted to North Carolina's growing conditions.
Penelope Perkins-Veazie
Dr. Penelope M. Perkins-Veazie, Professor. Research areas cover farm to fork fresh storage, quality, food safety, and phytonutrient content of fresh or minimally processed fruits and vegetables.  Most research is in areas of caneberry shelf life and watermelon uses as phytonutrient sources for improving human health.
Tom Ranney Dr. Thomas G. Ranney, Professor. Research areas are development of new nursery and bioenergy crops with greater adaptability, pest resistance, and commercial potential; enhancement of production efficiency and quality of crops; performance of basic research in plant science, cytogenetics, and reproductive biology.
Jonathan Schultheis Dr. Jonathan R. Schultheis, Professor and Departmental Extension Leader. Research focus is developing and optimizing cultural practices for commercial production of vegetables. Interests include stand establishment, plasticulture, developing new alternative crops, drip irrigation, nutrition, and seed physiology.  Crop emphasis is sweetpotato and cucurbits.
Maggie Schaber Margaret Schaber, Research Associate. Research responsibilities include blueberry breeding and genetics.  Emphasis is on creating high quality blueberry cultivars adapted specifically for the environment of North Carolina.
Sara Spayd

Dr. Sara E. Spayd, Professor. Focus is working with North Carolina grape industry with cultivars and cultural practices to optimize fruit quality. Research interests include fruit composition and quality as affected by vineyard management practices.

Mark Weathington Mr. Mark Weathington, Director, JC Raulston Arboreturm. Collects, propagates, and grows plants from around the world at the JC Raulston Arboretum in search of superior plants to diversify the American landscape.  Research includes landscape trials of novel plant material and propagation studies.
Dr. Todd C. Wehner Dr. Todd C. Wehner, Professor. Responsibilities include teaching plant breeding methods, distance education and integrated breeding databases. Research interest focus on improved selection methods; recurrent selection for fruit yield, earliness and quality; resistance to chilling, nematodes, anthracnose, belly rot, gummy stem blight and downy mildew; and germplasm evaluation to provide industry with new traits for the development of improved cultivars.
Dennis Werner

Dr. Dennis J. Werner, JC Raulston Distinguished Professor. His research efforts are focused on breeding and genetics of woody ornamentals, with emphasis on development of drought tolerant and novel landscape cultivars of Cercis and dwarf, sterile cultivars of Buddleja.  Genetic studies are focused on the inheritance of plant architecture, leaf color, and variegation in Cercis. 

Brian Whipker
Dr. Brian E. Whipker, Professor. Research interests include diagnostics, plant nutrition, water quality, plant growth regulators and economics. Extension specialization includes providing production information and diagnostic services to commercial greenhouse floriculture operations.
John Williamson Dr. John D. Williamson, Associate Professor. Research areas include  molecular mechanisms of plant stress responses, use of biotechnology in nontraditional breeding of crops with increased stress tolerance.  Current focus:  the role of mannitol in salt tolerance and pathogen resistance.
Craig Yencho Dr. G. Craig Yencho, Professor. Research projects involve genetic mapping of important traits in potato and sweetpotato; plant resistance to insects and pathogens; the development of value-added products including fries, chips, and natural colorants from potato and sweetpotato; the development of ornamental sweetpotatoes for the ornamental industries; and farmer participatroy breeding and international agriculture, primarily in eastern Africa.

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