Director

Rod A. Wing

Director of the Center for Desert Agriculture | Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Wing Lab

Research Interests: genetics, genomics, evolutionary biology of crop plants and their wild relatives

Associate Director

Mark A. Tester

Associate Director of the Center for Desert Agriculture | Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Salt Lab

Research Interests: salinity tolerance, ion transport, sustainable food production systems

Faculty

Brande Wulff

Associate Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of The Wulff Lab

Research Interests: wheat, wild wheat relatives, wild wheats, wheat rust, genomics, bioinformatics, resistance genes, gene cloning, GWAS, GM crops

Heribert Hirt

Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Darwin21 Lab

Ikram Blilou

Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Plant Cell and Developmental Biology (LPCDB)

Jesse A. Poland

Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Plant Breeding and Genetics Lab

Magdy M. Mahfouz

Professor of Bioengineering, Bioscience, and Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Genome Engineering and Synthetic Biology

Monika Chodasiewicz

Assistant Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Stress Granule Lab

Salim Al-Babili

Professor of Plant Science and Bioengineering | Principal Investigator of the BioActives Lab | Associate Dean of the Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division

Research Interests: plant metabolic engineering, plant hormones, carotenoids and apocarotenoids, root parasitic plants, plant biotic interactions, small molecules, plant growth regulators

Simon G. Krattinger

Assistant Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Cereal Genetics and Genomics Lab

Research Interests: cereal crops, genomics, plant-pathogen interactions, quantitative genetics

Center Operations Team

Andrea B. M. Hulsbosch

Communication, Media, and Design Lead

Anna Rautek

Center Manager

Ayat Abuelela

Lab Manager

Christopher Clarke

Senior Project Manager

Dalia Alshahrani

Project Coordinator

Emma Waller

Design Specialist

Ibrahim Malas

Project Manager

Jennifer Wing

Scientific Editor

Jovana Cvorovic

Scientific Editor

Lana Schwan

Finance Specialist

Luis Fernando Rivera Serna

Senior Bioinformatics Engineer

Research Interests: bioinformatics, omics tools, machine learning, biological db, HPC

Maureen Clarke

Admin and Travel Coordinator

Melanie Balkner-Zielke

Center Coordinator

Randah M. Aleisawi

Project Coordinator

Robyn Palescandolo

Senior Design Specialist & Artistic Lead

Suja Muralidharan

Business Administrator

Sumaira Haque

Administrative Assistant

Yanjun Guo

IT Operations Assistant

Research Interests: IT software, IT hardware

Research Scientists

Andrea Zuccolo

Research Scientist

Research Interests: plant comparative genomics, bioinformatics, transposable elements, directed evolution, genome sequencing

Elodie Rey

Research Scientist

Research Interests: crops, genomics, transcriptomics, polyploidy, domestication, stress resilience

Guotai Yu

Research Scientist

Haroon Butt

Research Scientist

Research Interests: genome engineering, directed evolution, RNA splicing

Juan Camilo Moreno Beltran

Research Scientist

Research Interests: carotenoids, apocarotenoids, plant hormones, photosynthesis, receptors, signaling molecules, beta carotene

Maged Saad

Senior Research Scientist

Research Interests: personalized desert agriculture, microbial breeding, biostimulants, microbial genetic and bacterial evaluation

Michael Abrouk

Research Scientist

Research Interests: bioinformatics, plant genetics, sequencing, comparative analysis, evolution

Muhammad Jamil

Research Scientist

Research Interests: plant physiology, agronomy, weed biology and ecology, plant signalling and parasite-interactions

Rashid Aman

Research Scientist

Research Interests: synthetic biology, plant tissue culture (tobacco and rice), virus based plant genome engineering

Vanessa Melino

Research Scientist

Research Interests: plant physiology, plant nutrition, salinity tolerance, root architecture, ion transport, nitrogen use efficiency

Zahir Ali

Research Scientist

Research Interests: CRISPR/Cas system, plant genome engineering, virus resistance, synthetic biology

Research Staff

Aala Abdulaziz Abulfaraj

Visiting Researcher

Aparna Balakrishna

Research Specialist

Research Interests: carotenoids, carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase, apocarotenoids ccd, gene expression, enzymatic activity

Ashley Bryce Pursglove

Research Specialist

Bhagya Lakshmi Girjia

Lab Support Technician

Research Interests: women's health, cardiovascular & neuro physiology

Catherine Helen Gardener

Research Specialist

Chad Woodward Vietti

CEA Technician

Chakravarthy Rajan

Research Specialist

Research Interests: plant molecular biology, plant secondary metabolites, cell culture and tissue culture, plant transformation studies

Chia-Yi Hu

Lab Assistant

Daniela Strnadova

Lab Assistant

Danni Zou

Greenhouse Technician

Durga Devi Prabhu

Lab Technician

Elisabet Poquet Faig

Greenhouse Technician

Hanna Mohsen Alhoraibi

Research Consultant

Hannah Horaibi

Visiting Researcher

Jisun Min

Lab Technician

Junyue Yao

Lab Technician

Kit Xi Liew

Research Specialist

Krishnaveni Sanikommu

Lab Technician

Lamis Berqdar

Research Assistant

Research Interests: plant science, molecular biology and data analysis

Lingli Zou

Greenhouse Technician

Mara Miculan

Research Specialist

Research Interests: plant genomics, transposable elements, quantitative genetics, evolutionary biology, population genomics

Mirko Celii

Research Specialist

Nataliya Kovalchuk

Research Specialist

Noha Omar Saber

Research Specialist

Research Interests: molecular biology, salinity tolerance

Norhan Hassan

Research Specialist

Nouf Owdah Alshareef

Visiting Researcher

Qurbat Zahra

Lab Technician

Research Interests: networking, IT, human computer interface

Rameesha M Parambil

Greenhouse Technician

Rebekah Elizabeth Waller

Agricultural Specialist

Rewaa Sauod Jalal

Visiting Researcher

Saad Hammad

Greenhouse Assistant

Shadi Mohamed Nagib Darwish Selim

Research Translation Specialist

Shuming Yan

Lab Technician

Trang Dinh

Lab Support

Umair Ali Toor

Lab Technician

Vijayalakshmi Ponnakanti

Greenhouse Assistant

Xinjing Xu

Lab Technician

Yanjun Wei

Lab Technician

Yao Wu

Lab Support

Yasha Zhang

Research Assistant

Research Interests: marine ecology, materials modeling

Postdoctoral Fellows

Abdallah Awad

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ahmed Elhady

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alice Fornasiero

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: plant genomics, population genetics, ancient DNA, bioinformatics, genome assembly, conservation, rice

Arsheed H. Sheikh

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: plant immunity, epitranscriptome, epigenetics, plant signalling

Ashraf Kibriya

Postdoctoral Fellow

Claudia Yveline Pailles Galvez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dongryung Lee

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: salinity tolerance

Eric Jian You Wang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: zaxionone, strigolactones, metabolomics, analytical chemistry

Gopal Misra

Postdoctoral Fellow

Gwendolyn Kirschner

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: root development, BIRD proteins, rice, microscopy

Hendrik (Nico) Kuijer

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: rice, pearl millet, cereal transformation, gene assisted transformation, zaxionone

Himanshu Vishwas Patankar

Postdoctoral Fellow

Israel Maruri Lopez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Itzell Euridice Hernandez Sanchez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), stress granules (SGs)

Jiemeng Xu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Kashif Nawaz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Katja Froehlich

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: plant-microbe interactions, plant stress tolerance, plant microbiome

Khalid Sedeek

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: plant genome engineering, crop improvement

Kirti Singh

Postdoctoral Fellow

Lamia Aouini

Postdoctoral Fellow

Laxman Adhikari

Postdoctoral Fellow

Maria Fernanda Nava Ocampo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: water sustainability

Nahed Mohammed

Postdoctoral Fellow

Naheed Tabassum

Postdoctoral Fellow

Naveenkumar Athiyannan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: disease resistance, cereal genetics and genomics, plant-pathogen interactions, rust pathology

Nicolas Augsburger

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nicolas E. Figueroa Fuentealba

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: plant molecular biology, plant physiology, stress granules, phytohormones

Noor Al-Bader

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: bioinformatics, platinum-standard RefSeq genomes, genome annotation, ontologies, expression analysis

Paula Oyarce Sgro

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: metabolomics, abiotic stress, cell wall analysis, molecular biology

Rabeaa Alkhateeb

Postdoctoral Fellow

Radim Svacina

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: disease resistance, rust resistance, HMW DNA, Golden Gate cloning

Renjie Chen

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: plant molecular biology, plant immunity, immune receptors

Rezwan Tariq

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sabiha Parween

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shanshan Song

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shyam Gundu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: root development, developmental biology, genetics, cell biology and molecular biology

Sivakrishna Gundra

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: CRISPR/Cas, directed evolution, crop improvement

Syed Haleem Shah

Postdoctoral Fellow

Urooj Fatima

Postdoctoral Fellow

Wouter Smet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Xiongjie Zheng

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: apocarotenoids, carotenoids, genetics, metabolic engineering

Yagiz Alagoz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yağız Alagöz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yajun Wang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yong Zhou

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: rice, variants, genes, evolution

PhD Students

Aaron Pantoja Angles

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: synthetic biology, CRISPR

Abdugaffor Ablazov

PhD Student

Research Interests: plant molecular biology, reverse genetics, CRISPR/Cas, apocarotenoids, zaxionone

Abdulrahman Alhabsi

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: molecular biology, genome engineering

Ahad Moussa Kababji

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: genome engineering, synthetic biology

Ahmed Ghouneimy

Master/PhD Student

Alice Stra

PhD Student

Amal Alghamdi

PhD Student

Amer Alrudayan

PhD Student

Andrea Gonzalez Munoz

PhD Student

Research Interests: wild wheats, plant disease resistance, genomics, bioinformatics, population genomics

Anna Siodmak

PhD Student

Research Interests: plant science, plant-pathogen interactions, reactive oxygen signalling, MAPK signaling, translation, ribosomes

Aseel Alsantely

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: bioinformatics, genome sequencing, gene annotation

Baoda Han

PhD Student

Clara S. Stanschewski

PhD Student

Research Interests: plant genetics, plant phenotyping, genome-wide association studies, genotype x environment interactions

Edith Sanchez Hernandez

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: genome engineering, CRISPR/Cas, genome editing, food security

Fareena Rafique

Master/PhD Student

Fatema Alquraish

PhD Student

Research Interests: biomolecular condensates, stress granules (SGs), processing bodies, plant stress response

Fatimah Abdulhakim

Master/PhD Student

Fatimah Aljedaani

PhD Student

Francisco Ayala

Master/PhD Student

Guan-Ting Chen

Master/PhD Student

Hanin Ahmed

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: crop domestication, bioinformatics, genomics, population genetics, plant biology and desert agriculture

Izamar Olivas Orduna

Master/PhD Student

Jing Lu

Visiting PhD Student

Joaquin Villarreal Barragan

Master/PhD Student

Jose Gonzalez Kise

Master/PhD Student

Jose Luis Moreno Ramirez

PhD Student

Research Interests: genome editing, CRISPR, crop improvement

Juan Pablo Arciniegas Vega

Master/PhD Student

Leonardo Fabbian

PhD Student

Linah Alghanmi

PhD Student

Louai Alidrissi

PhD Student

Mitchell Ritzinger

PhD Student

Mohammed Shahid Chaudhary

PhD Student

Research Interests: viral vectors, bio-production, synthetic biology

Nathaly Rodriguez Ortiz

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: tomato, salinity tolerance, grafting, polyploidy

Nicola Secco

PhD Student

Pei-Yu Lin

PhD Student

Research Interests: abc transporter, apocarotenoids, SLs

Pepijn Bais

PhD Student

Prabhu Manickam

PhD Student

Research Interests: plant genetics, plant signalling and plant biochemistry

Qiaochu Wang

Master/PhD Student

Radwa Kamel

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: molecular biology, genome engineering

Senzeni Ndlovu

PhD Student

Somiya Saferuddin

Master/PhD Student

Tin Marsic

PhD Student

Research Interests: genome engineering, synthetic biology

Vinicius Lube

PhD Student

Research Interests: root system architecture, live imaging, phenomics

Violeta Londono Velez

Master/PhD Student

Research Interests: stress granules, composition, proteomics

Wenjun Jiang

PhD Student

Research Interests: genome editing, CRISPR

Wiam Alsharif

Master/PhD Student

Yang Zhang

PhD Student

Yu Yang

PhD Student

Research Interests: marine ecology, materials modeling

Zulma Lopez Reyes

PhD Student

Master Students

Alamin Bantan

Master Student

Anam Fatima

Master Student

Angel Morris

Master Student

Gadah Alamri

Master Student

Ibrahim Tarbiyyah

PhD Student

Meshal Alarifi

Master Student

Natalia Arango Lopez

Master Student

Padam Bahadur Poudel

Master Student

Paula Mor Llombart

Visiting Student

Tatiana Castillo Hernández

Master Student

Research Interests: developmental biology, gene-editing technology, molecular biology

Waad Alzaed

Master Student

Alumni

Ahmed Mahas

Alumnus

Ayman Farran

Alumnus

Gabriel Xicoténcatl García Ramírez

Alumnus

Research Interests: microbiome symbiosis, plant immunity, plant nutrition

Justine Braguy

Alumna

Research Interests: plant biology, strigolactones, synthetic biology

Randa Zarban

Alumna

Research Interests: plant molecular biology, protein interaction, strigolactones, striga hermonthica germination inhibition