Invited Speakers

Briana Gross

gross_brianaAssistant Professor of Biology

University of Minnesota Duluth

Presentation Title: "Bringing apples out of the wild: genomic consequences of domestication"

Biography: Briana Gross is an assistant professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Her research focuses on how processes such as evolution, domestication, and speciation effect the genetics of crop and wild species. Dr Gross utilizes approaches that encompass ecological, quantitative, and population genetics and genomics. Recently, her research has focused on domestication and evolution of rice and perennial fruits.


John Burke

burke_johnProfessor of Plant Biology

University of Georgia

Presentation Title: "Genetics and the evolution of crop plants: insights from sunflower"

Biography: Dr. John Burke is the Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia in the Department of Plant Biology. Research in the Dr. Burke’s lab is focused on evolutionary genetics and comparative genomics of the sunflower family (i.e., the Compositae or Asteraceae). Specific topics of interest include plant domestication, crop evolution, the evolution of genome structure, floral developmental evolution, crop-wild gene flow, transgene escape, parallel and convergent evolution, abiotic stress resistance, adaptation, and the evolution of reproductive isolation. 


Michael Purugganan

purugganan_michaelSilver Professor of Biology

New York University

Presentation Title: "The Other Rice: Domestication and Adaptation in African Rice"

Biography: Dr. Michael Purugganan is the Dean for Science and Silver Professor of Biology at New York University.  Prior to his professorship at New York University, Dr. Purugganan was a faculty member at North Carolina State University where he was a pioneer in using the model species Arabidopsis thaliana to study the genomics underlying plant traits.  Currently, his lab’s research focuses on plant molecular evolution and encompasses many aspects of the plant domestication process.  Dr. Purugganan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, serves on the Biological Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and is an elected member of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  

Allison Miller

miller_allisonAssociate Professor, Department of Biology

Saint Louis University

Presentation Title: "Evolution of perennial plants in nature and under domestication: applications for sustainable agriculture"

Biography: Allison Miller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Saint Louis University and a Research Associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Her research program focuses on evolutionary processes in contemporary and emerging perennial crops and their wild relatives. Ongoing work in her group focuses on grapevines, perennial, herbaceous legumes, and tropical fruit trees. Originally from the Chicago area, Allison became interested in plants through trips to nearby prairie patches and summer vacations in northern Wisconsin. She earned BS and MS degrees from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and Colorado State University respectively, and holds a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Population Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. She is passionate about uniting botanical diversity research with plant breeding communities to facilitate advances in sustainable agriculture.

John Doebley

doebley_johnProfessor, Department of Genetics

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Presentation Title: "Genetics of maize domestication: low hanging fruit and dark matter."

Biography: John F. Doebley is a Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is known for his landmark publications on maize evolutionary genetics. His lab is currently investigating the genetic architecture of morpoholgy traits, maize domestication, and population genetics of maize and teosinte.  He has received many distinctions throughout his accomplished career including being elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002. Dr. Doebley has also held distinguished positions such as president of the American Genetic Association and chair of the Laboratory of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin and served as a respected mentor and teacher to many throughout his career.