Feedstock Production: Growing the Right Crops

The scientists in this theme will employ the “plants-as-factories” paradigm, in which biofuels, bioproducts, high-value molecules, and foundation molecules for conversion are synthesized directly in plant stems. This plants-as-factories approach circumvents the challenges of developing efficient lignocellulose deconstruction methods, while still retaining residual biomass for deconstruction by traditional or emerging methods.The main thrust of projects will be on high-yielding grasses throughout the rain-fed eastern U.S., including on marginal soils. CABBI will focus on Sorghum, Sugarcane, Energycane, and Miscanthus. Sorghum and Sugarcane are the world’s highest biomass producers with demonstrated potential for accumulation of oil in vegetative biomass after successful metabolic engineering.

Emily Heaton: Theme Leader

Heaton, an Associate Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University, is an expert in biomass crop production and physiology. Her research aims to understand the growth and productivity of dedicated biomass crops in the Midwest, and how they can be managed to provide multiple ecosystem services. She focuses on developing energy crop portfolios and management strategies that are targeted to the growth environment and ultimate end use of the crop. Heaton, who started in CABBI as a scientist in the Sustainability Theme, was named in September 2020 as the Feedstock Production Theme Leader. Her CABBI research will incorporate both themes. She graduated with a B.S. (2001) and a Ph.D. (2006) in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Her Agronomy page >>>

Her lab page >>>

Her Sustainability theme research profile >>>

Matthew Hudson: Deputy Theme Leader

Hudson, a Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, uses supercomputing and DNA sequencing to solve problems in plant, animal, and human genetics. He employs computational biology, bioinformatics, genome sequencing, and molecular biology to study crop breeding as well as ways to treat and prevent diseases. He is interested in the genetics of crop traits and the genetic and molecular interactions of crops with pathogens, pests, and other organisms. He got his Ph.D. in Biology in 1998 from the University of Leicester.

His Crop Sciences page >>>

His lab page >>>

Kankshita Swaminathan: Deputy Theme Leader

Swaminathan, a Faculty Investigator at HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala., is an expert in in perennial grasses, phenotyping and applications of genomics for plant customization and modification. Her research focus is on genomic solutions to sustainable agriculture — with a particular interest in using genetics to understand the role of the rhizome (modified underground stems) in nutrient storage and reproduction, resource reallocation and perenniality in plants. Swaminathan received her Ph.D. in Biology in 2005 from Dartmouth College.

Her HudsonAlpha page >>>

The Lead Scientists

Lisa Ainsworth

Research Molecular Biologist, U.S. Dept. of Ag. Agricultural Research Service Global Change and Photosynthesis Research, Urbana, IL

Her School of Integrative Biology page >>>

Her USDA ARS page >>>

Her lab page >>>

The Research Team

Fredy Altpeter

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Florida

His Agronomy page >>>

The Research Team

Brian Baldwin

Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University

His Plant and Soil Sciences page >>>

His lab page >>>

Edgar Cahoon

Professor of Biochemistry and Director of Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

His Biochemistry page >>>

His lab page >>>

Li-Qing Chen

Assistant Professor of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Her School of Integrative Biology page >>>

Her research profile >>>

Thomas Clemente

Eugene W. Price Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology, Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

His Agronomy page >>>

His lab page >>>

His research profile >>>

Anna Hale

Research Geneticist, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Houma, LA

Her USDA ARS page >>>

The Sugarcane Research Unit page >>>

Andrew Leakey

Professor and Department Head of Plant Biology; Professor of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His School of Integrative Biology page >>>

His Crop Sciences page >>>

His lab page >>>

Chang-Jun Liu

Researcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory

His BNL page >>>

The BNL Plant Sciences page >>>

Stephen P. Long

Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His Crop Sciences page >>>

His lab page >>>

Amy Marshall-Colón

Assistant Professor of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Her School of Integrative Biology page >>>

Her lab page >>>

Stephen Moose

Professor of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His Crop Sciences page >>>

His lab page >>>

His research profile >>>

Jesse Morrison

Research Associate of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University

His Plant and Soil Sciences page >>>

Donald Ort

Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Interim Director of Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His School of Integrative Biology page >>>

His lab page >>>

Nancy Reichert

Professor of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University

Her Biological Sciences page >>>

Her research profile >>>

Daniel Rokhsar

Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development, University of California at Berkeley

His Molecular & Cell Biology page >>>

His lab page >>>

Erik Sacks

Associate Professor of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His Crop Sciences page >>>

Jörg Schwender

Researcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory

His BNL page >>>

The BNL Plant Sciences page >>>

John Shanklin

Researcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory

His BNL page >>>

The BNL Plant Sciences page >>>

Anthony Studer

Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His Crop Sciences page >>>

Changcheng Xu

Researcher, Brookhaven National Laboratory

His BNL page >>>

The BNL Plant Sciences page >>>

The Research Team

An alphabetical listing of all researchers, postdocs, technicians, and graduate students doing CABBI research in the Feedstock Production Theme.

A-F

ANJALI ARPAN

Plant Biology M.S. Candidate

PI: Reichert

Mississippi State University

GABRIEL BEUCHAT

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Chen

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

REBECCA BILLINGSLEY

Research Associate

PI: Reichert

Mississippi State University

ELEANOR BRANT

Agronomy Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

BRYANT BROWN

Greenhouse Manager

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

FENGJIAO BU

Postdoc

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

YINGQI CAI

Postdoc

PI: Shanklin

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Her research profile >>>

SOFIA CANO ALFANAR

Lab Technician

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

KHER XING (CINDY) CHAN

Visiting Scholar

PI: Long

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

YOUNG CHO

Postdoc

PI: Ort

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

TERESA CLARK 

Postdoc

PI: Schwender

Brookhaven National Laboratory

HANNAH DEMLER

Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Ainsworth

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SMIT DHAKAL 

Postdoc

PI: Studer

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

JIA DONG

Postdoc

PI: Hudson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

LYNN DORAN

Research Specialist

PIs: Moose/Studer

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NIDHI DWIVEDI

Postdoc

PI: Liu

Brookhaven National Laboratory

AYMAN EID

Postdoc

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

JILIAN FAN

Technical Research Associate

PI: Xu

Brookhaven National Laboratory

JIE FU

Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Marshall-Colón

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

G-L

ZHENGXIANG GE

Research Technologist

PI: Clemente

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

More >>>

AMANDINE GERMON

Postdoc

PI: Leakey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SACHIN HEERAH

Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Marshall-Colón

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

More >>>

MADARA HETTI ARACHCHILAGE

Postdoc

PI: Marshall-Colón

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PRADEEP HIRANNAIAH

Postdoc

PI: Swaminathan

HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology

DYLAN HOLLOWELL

Field Technician

PI: Baldwin

Mississippi State University

NIKHIL JAIKUMAR

Postdoc

PI: Long

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

BRANDON JAMES

Postdoc

PI: Swaminathan

HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology

More >>>

PRAVEENA KANCHUPATI

Research Specialist

PI: Moose

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NAM KYU KANG

Integration Postdoc

PIs: Ort (Feedstock Production)/Jin (Conversion)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

BASKARAN KANNAN

Biological Scientist

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

More >>>

SANG YEOL KIM

Plant Biology Research Scientist

PI: Ort

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NICHOLAS LaBONTE 

Postdoc

PI: Sacks

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His research profile >>>

ALISTAIR LEVERETT

Postdoc

PI: Leakey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SHUAI LI

Postdoc

PI: Ainsworth

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

More >>>

His research profile >>>

YONGGUAN LI

Visiting Scientist

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

 

HUI LIU

Technical Research Associate

PI: Shanklin

Brookhaven National Laboratory

JESSICA LYONS

Project Scientist

PI: Rokhsar

University of California at Berkeley

M-R

SHILPA MANJUNATHA

Technician

PI: Swaminathan

HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology

SCOTT McCOY

Field Technician

PI: Leakey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

THERESE MITROS

Applications Programmer

PI: Rokhsar

University of California at Berkeley

More >>>

HIMAYA MULA-MICHEL

Postdoc

PI: Hale

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service

More >>>

HANS MÜLLER PAUL

Informatics Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Hudson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His research profile >>>

More >>>

TARA NAZARENUS

Plant Lipid Biology Research Technician

PI: Cahoon

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

More >>>

NATALYA NERSESIAN

Research Technologist

PI: Clemente

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

More >>>

KIYOUL PARK

Postdoc

PI: Cahoon

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

His research profile >>>

More >>>

MONI QIANDE

Agronomy Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

TRUYEN QUACH

Plant Science Research Professor

PI: Clemente

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

More >>>

MARUTI NANDAN RAI

Postdoc

PI: Moose

University of  Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

BRIAN RHODES

Crop Sciences Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Moose

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

S-Z

CORALIE SALESSE-SMITH

Postdoc

PI: Long

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SARA SANCHEZ

Lab Technician

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

MIA SANDS

Lab Technician

PI: Ort

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SHIRLEY SATO

Research Manager

PI: Clemente

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

More >>>

SUBARNA SHARMA

Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Reichert

Mississippi State University

DILKARAN SINGH
 
Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate
 
PI: Marshall-Colón
 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

RAJARAM RAMKUMAR THAKKU

Lab Technician

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

SUSAN THOMAS

Program Manager

PI: Leakey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

TONY TRIEU

Research Technician

PI: Swaminathan

HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology

More >>>

SEBASTIAN VARELA

Postdoc

PI: Leakey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

JIANG WANG

Postdoc

PI: Chen

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

YU WANG

Postdoc

PI: Long

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

More >>>

LIANG XIAO

Postdoc

PI: Sacks

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

XUEYI XUE

Postdoc

PI: Chen

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

More >>>

His research profile >>>

 

LINHUI YU

Postdoc

PI: Xu

Brookhaven National Laboratory

XIAOHONG YU

Research Scientist

PI: Shanklin

Brookhaven National Laboratory

ZHIYANG ZHAI

Assistant Scientist

PI: Shanklin

Brookhaven National Laboratory

BOSEN ZHANG

Postdoc

PI: Moose

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

TIELING ZHANG

Research Technologist

PI: Clemente

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

More >>>

ZHIHAI ZHANG

Postdoc

PI: Hudson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

XUYING ZHENG

Crop Sciences Ph.D. Candidate

PI: Sacks

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

CHAO ZHOU

Postdoc

PI: Xu

Brookhaven National Laboratory

JOE ZIMMERMAN

Lab Technician

PI: Sacks

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

His research profile >>>

EVELYN ZUNIGA

Postdoc

PI: Altpeter

University of Florida

More >>>

FORMER TEAM MEMBERS

Josh Allen, Research Programmer (Hudson), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mohammad Belaffif, Postdoc (Swaminathan), HudsonAlpha Inst. of Biotech. Research profile >>>

Jessica Bubert, Crop Sciences Ph.D. Candidate (Moose), University of Illinois at Urbana-C.

Setu Chakrabarty, Postdoc (Leakey), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ghana Challa, Postdoc (Hudson/Marshall-Colón), U. of Ill. at Urbana-C. Other research >>>

Ben Daniels, Academic Hourly Researcher (Sacks), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Prabin Dhungana, Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate (Reichert), Mississippi State University

Lu Gan, Postdoc (Cahoon), University of Nebraska

Andrew Greenhaw, Research Technician (Baldwin), Mississippi State University

Jacob Heldenbrand, Research Programmer (Hudson), University of Illinois at Urbana-C.

Dave Istanto, Bioinformatics M.S. Candidate (Hudson), University of Illinois at Urbana-C.

Stephen Jinga, Crop Sciences M.S. Candidate (Moose), University of Illinois at Urbana-C.

Hae Jin Kim, Postdoc (Cahoon), University of Nebraska

Hyojin Kim, Postdoc (Cahoon), University of Nebraska

Dan Lanier, Crop Sciences Academic Hourly Researcher (Hudson), University of Ill. at Urbana-C.

Sarah Lipps, Academic Hourly Researcher (Sacks), University of Ill. at Urbana-Champaign

Guangbin Luo, Postdoc (Altpeter), University of Florida

Duncan Martin, Plant Biology M.S. Candidate (Ainsworth), University of Illinois at Urbana-C.

Justin McGrath, Postdoc (Long), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tufan Oz, Postdoc (Altpeter), University of Florida

Lucas Roberts, Crop Sciences M.S. Candidate (Studer), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robert Twohey, Crop Sciences M.S. Candidate (Studer), University of Ill. at Urbana-Champaign

Ryan Tillman, Field Technician (Swaminathan), HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology

Duoduo Wang, Postdoc (Altpeter), University of Florida

Alex Winter, Lab Technician (Altpeter), University of Florida

Ya Chi Yu, Plant Biology Visiting Research Specialist (Chen), University of Illinois at Urbana-C.