Area(s) of Expertise
Our research spans a wide range of topics in plant systematics and evolution, involving undergraduate and graduate students as well as international collaborations. Our general research goal is to test systematic and evolutionary hypotheses in a phylogenetic context. We use DNA sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of plants and use the phylogeny as a framework to understand pattern and rate of diversification, biogeographic history, and evolution of morphology, genes, and genomes. We integrate phylogeny, development, and gene expression and functional analyses to understand the developmental genetics of inflorescence evolution in the dogwood family. We built a dogwood genetic transformation system for characterizing functions of genes regulating flowering and inflorescence development. Furthermore, we integrate populations genetics, phylogeography, and landscape ecology to understand how genetic variation responds to changes in landscape and environment in the state flower Cornus florida. Our focal plants for research have been the dogwoods and their close relatives (Cornales) as well as plants displaying a discontinuous distribution in eastern Asia and eastern North America.
The main course I teach is PB 403/503 Plant Systematics, which was offered every fall before 2015 and now every spring from 2016 onward, for undergraduate and graduate level students. I also teach a study abroad course in the summer Study Abroad Program: Plant Resources, Ecology and Culture in China (PB 495/595 – 501, 3 credits, S/U or graded; three weeks).
Other Teaching Efforts:
- PB 493 (undergraduate research) Contact Dr. Chad Jordan for details.
- Advising graduate students’ thesis research.
- Discovering variation of secondary metabolite diversity and its relationship with disease resistance in Cornus florida L., Ecology and Evolution (2018)
- Resolving relationships and phylogeographic history of the Nyssa sylvatica complex using data from RAD-seq and species distribution modeling, MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION (2018)
- Haplotyping of Cornus florida and C. kousa chloroplasts: Insights into species-level differences and patterns of plastic DNA variation in cultivars, PLOS ONE (2018)
- Alterations of CorTFL1 and CorAP1 expression correlate with major evolutionary shifts of inflorescence architecture in Cornus (Cornaceae) – a proposed model for variation of closed inflorescence forms, New Phytologist (2017)
- Ecological genomics of local adaptation in cornus florida l. By genotyping by sequencing, Ecology and Evolution (2017)
- Evolution, development, and genetics of floral display-form, size, and arrangement, Journal of Systematics and Evolution (2017)
- Down regulation of APETALA 3 homolog resulted in defect of floral structure critical to explosive pollen release in Cornus canadensis: The role of APETALA3 homolog in Cornus, Journal of Systematics and Evolution (2017)
- Evolution and developmental genetics of floral display-A review of progress: A review of progress in evo-devo of floral display, Journal of Systematics and Evolution (2017)
- Whole genome duplication and acceleration of molecular evolution is associated with the early diversification of the genus Cornus L. (Cornaceae): Insights from De Novo Assembled Transcriptome Sequences, PLOS ONE (2017)
- Enhancing heat tolerance of the little dogwood Cornus canadensis L.f. with introduction of a superoxide reductase gene from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus, Frontiers in Plant Science (2016)
Ph.D., Botany-Plant Molecular Systematics, Washington State University (1995)
B.S., Plant Genetics, Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen) University (1982)