2020 Plant Science Symposium Committee

Sarah Johnson

SARAH JOHNSON

2020 Plant Science Symposium Chair

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, Complex Biosystems with specialization in Integrated Plant Biology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.Sc. in Entomology, University of Georgia-Athens
  • B.Sc. in Biology, Winthrop University, Rock Hill S.C.

ADVISORS: David Hyten and Tom Clemente

EMAIL: sarah2017@huskers.unl.edu

Johnson's goal is to help plant breeders by investigating mechanisms of valuable traits and methods to increase efficiency of existing programs. Her first project was initiated by Dr. David Hyten and Dr. Tom Clemente of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln investigating the processes controlling meiotic crossover (CO). Increasing the sheer number of meiotic crossovers or altering meiotic crossover "hotspots" could unlock genetic diversity which will have many breeding applications. She is also exploring alternative high-throughput techniques to measure recombination in soybean. Her most recent project is to find resistance to the Soybean Stem Borer across 500 diverse accessions.

OSLER ORTEZ

OSLER ORTEZ

2020 Plant Science Symposium Vice-Chair

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, Agronomy, specialization in Crops Production, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.Sc. in Agronomy, Kansas State University
  • B.Sc. in Agriculture, Zamorano University-Honduras

ADVISORS: Roger Elmore and Justin McMechan

EMAIL: osler.ortez@huskers.unl.edu

Osler is originally from Nicaragua where he got first-hand exposure to agriculture. He received his B.Sc. in agriculture from Zamorano University in Honduras, 2014. In 2018, he completed his Master’s degree in agronomy at Kansas State University. He was part of the Organizer Committee of the 2018 Plant Sciences Symposia Series at K-State. Ortez's research at UNL focuses on studying factors responsible for ear formation issues and subsequent productivity losses in corn. This a major concern that has affected grower fields in Nebraska and other states in recent years. He is an active member and officer of the Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association at UNL. After completing his Ph.D., Ortez plans to continue working in close collaboration with the academy, industry, farmers, and community in general for continuing the study of ways to improve agricultural systems in our days.

SAMANTHA MCCONAUGHY

SAMANTHA MCCONAUGHY

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. candidate, program in Agronomy, specialization Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S. Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • B.S. Genetics, Iowa State University

ADVISOR: David Hyten

EMAIL: samanthamcconaughy@gmail.com

McConaughy's research focuses on mapping recombination hotspots in soybean. She has been the vice-chair for the Plant Breeding Symposium in 2014, 2016, and 2018. She was the president of the Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association from 2014-2015. She is an active member in our department currently serving on the safety and curriculum committees.

ALEXANDRE T. ROSA

ALEXANDRE T. ROSA

EDUCATION:

  •  Ph.D. student in Agronomy, specialization in Crop Physiology and Production, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S. in Soil Fertility, Kansas State University
  • B.S. in Agronomy, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

ADVISORS: Cody Creech and Roger Elmore

EMAIL: alexandre@huskers.unl.edu

Rosa’s research focuses on cover crop management in semi-arid regions of western Nebraska and its impact on subsequent corn production. Recently, he was awarded a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Graduate Student Grant to study the feasibility of double cropping pulse crops with short-season crops in eastern Nebraska. Currently, he is the president of the Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association at UNL and a member of the ACS Graduate Student Association.

GABRIELA INVENINATO CARMONA

GABRIELA INVENINATO CARMONA

2020 Plant Science Symposium Committee Head: Advertising/Social Media/Website

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.Sc. in Agronomy, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • B.Sc. Exchange Scholar. Agronomy. Kansas State University

ADVISOR: Justin McMechan

EMAIL: gabiinveninato@gmail.com

Carmona is originally from Brazil, where she got her B.Sc. in Agronomy degree. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Entomology. She is studying how cover crop management impact arthropods in a cover crop-corn system. In addition of serving as the Advertising, Social Media, and Website Chair for the 2020 NPSS, Gabi enjoys being active in the Bruner Club Entomology Graduate Association, currently the Vice-president. Carmona is also engaged with CASNR student professional development activities and has a special passion and interest for people’s development.

JASPINDER SINGH

JASPINDER SINGH

2020 Plant Science Symposium Committee Head: Poster/Oral Presentations/Travel Scholarships

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, Agronomy & Horticulture, specialization Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S. Agronomy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.Sc. Agricultural Biotechnology, Punjab Agricultural University, Punjab, India

ADVISOR: Paul E. Staswick

EMAIL: jaspindersingh@huskers.unl.edu

Upon completion of B.Sc. Agricultural Biotechnology degree in Punjab Agricultural University, India, Singh joined the lab of Professor Paul E Staswick, a well-known plant molecular biologist, in the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He completed a Master’s degree from Staswick Lab in December 2018, and immediately afterward joined as a Ph.D. student in the same lab. His research work involves investigating the efficacy of a newly registered tertiary amine plant growth regulator, BMVE, that is known to improve plant growth and ultimately yield in the end. In order to decipher the role of this compound, he has been using various phenotyping and molecular biology tools to extrapolate the physiological and transcriptomic changes conferred by its application. Besides academia, he has been actively engaged in extra-cocurricular activities. He has served as a vice-president of the Agronomy & Horticulture Graduate Student Association (AHGSA) for the term 2017-2018, and additionally, volunteered in many departmental activities.

FERNANDA SOUZA KRUPEK

FERNANDA SOUZA KRUPEK

2020 Plant Science Symposium Chair: Catering/Symposium Supplies

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, program in Agronomy, specialization Crop Physiology and Production, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S. in Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida
  • B.S. Agronomy, University of Sao Paulo

ADVISOR:Andrea Basche

EMAIL: krupek@huskers.unl.edu

Krupek is leading the Resilient Cropping Systems Lab’s research working with high-functioning farm ecosystems across Nebraska designed to promote soil quality. This is a state-wide project that combined long-term on-farm experiments with a continuum of practices on a transition to more complex, ecologically intensified cropping systems. Her project seeks to incorporate aspects of agroecosystem productivity, resilience, and adaptability in corn-soybean cropping systems. In addition to serving as Catering and Symposium Supplies Committee Chair for the NPSS Committee, Fernanda enjoys being active in the department’s activities, traveling with family and friends, and discovering new places in Nebraska.

ERIKA SANCHEZ-BETANCOURT

ERIKA SANCHEZ-BETANCOURT

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, program in Agronomy, specialization Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.Sc. Plant Breeding and Genetics, National University of Colombia
  • B.Sc. Biology, Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia – UPTC

ADVISOR: Carlos Urrea and David Hyten

EMAIL: bioerikas@gmail.com

Sanchez’s research focuses on establishing the genetic basis of bacterial wilt resistance in common bean as a potential breeding strategy to reduce crop losses caused by this disease. She served at the Plant Breeding Symposium in 2019 and is an active member of the Graduate Student Assembly – GSA, as representative of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.

MARY HAPP

MARY HAPP

2020 Plant Science Symposium Chair: Catering/Symposium Supplies

EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. student, program in Agronomy, specialization Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.S. Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, minors in Chemistry and International Studies

ADVISOR:. David Hyten

EMAIL: m28happ95@gmail.com

Happ's work focuses on quantifying phenotypic plasticity in soybeans and exploiting that within a breeding program to maximize trait stability across target geographical regions. Currently, breeders are restricted to assessing stability until late in the breeding process, where few lines are available for selection. Happ is exploring the potential utility of several genomics approaches to provide an early selection method that enriches multi-environment trials with stable material.