Research

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Currently, I'm working on industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) with a special focus on inflorescence dynamics using transcriptomics, phenomics, and genomics.

Hemp has recently been legalized and identified as a potentially valuable industrial crop (e.g., seed, fiber, phytochemicals, etc.) for Texas. However, exploration of the best hemp strains for different ecological regions of Texas and end-usage in the industry, agriculture, and medicinal application is currently a challenge. Due to genetic reticulation resulting from domestication and intensive breeding, identification and authentication of hemp for germplasm collections are difficult. As hemp is a unique crop that specifically needs to be screened for regulatory aspects, diverse industrial capabilities, yielding parameters, and field performance, a combined ‘omics’ is ideal to establish a beneficial germplasm collection.

Therefore, I'm working on an essential aspect of understanding the genetic diversity of hemp using genomics. Additionally, I integrate phenomics, which is an emerging field that characterizes plant behavior and yield-related traits on a large scale in a way that allows linking phenotypes to genetic control. Finally, I use transcriptomics to understand branching patterns of hemp inflorescence and seed shattering.