“There’s a breadth of information across this department and I look forward to many collaborations. Our department has the ability to look at the total setting, the whole big picture.”
Amanda-Hulse Kemp, USDA assistant professor and computational biologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, has the ability to build a scientific “big picture” from the genomic information in a seed by using computer expertise to evaluate it.
A new member of the USDA-ARS Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Unit, Amanda is a computational biologist whose research with the USDA-ARS will focus on implementing computational biology methods through bioinformatics to intelligently enhance breeding programs in the ARS. In the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, she will teach workshops and offer invited lectures, using the Eastern Genomic Lab for some of her work.
During her time as a postdoctoral research scholar at the Seed Biotechnology Center at the University of California, Davis Amanda focused on bioinformatics, resource development and integration of genomics and biotechnology tools for enhancing breeding of vegetables and other crops, including spinach, coffee, cotton, tomato, and pepper. She received a BSc. Degree in Biology and Animal Biotechnology from the University of Nevada, Reno and her Ph.D. in Genetics from Texas A&M University, where she received a number of awards including the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Graduate Research and the Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research.
By this time Amanda was ready to come back to the East coast in order to live closer to family. She had already worked with NC State’s Candace Haigler in cotton research, and was a natural to join the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. In addition to her computer skills, Amanda has a background in cytogenetics from her time in Dr. David Stelly’s lab at TAMU, which gives her additional depth of insight. She smiles. “I believe it is important to understand all the things they do in the lab in order to be able to analyze the studies from a biological perspective.”
About NC State, Amanda reflects, “It’s a good AG school.” She looks forward to continuing a department tradition of “establishing new collaborations, which allows making a big impact, such as those by established professors in NC agriculture and US agriculture.”
Something else impresses her. “The strength of the Crop and Soil Sciences Department: it’s a joint department, from the development of seed to the soil scientist teaching about the soil. There’s a breadth of information across this department and I look forward to many collaborations. Our department has the ability to look at the total setting, the whole big picture.”
(Written by Kaki Carl)