Faculty

Monika Chodasiewicz

Assistant Professor, Plant Science

Ikram Blilou

Associate Professor, Plant Science

Heribert Hirt

Professor, Plant Science

Salim Al-Babili

Professor, Plant Science

Research Interests: Plant metabolic engineering, Plant hormones, Carotenoids and Apocarotenoids, Root Parasitic Plants, Plant Biotic Interactions, Small Molecules, Plant Growth Regelators

Mark Tester

Professor, Plant Science Associate Director, Center for Desert Agriculture

Simon Krattinger

Assistant Professor, Plant Science

Research Interests: Cereal crops, Genomics, Plant-pathogen interactions, Quantitative genetics

Magdy M. Mahfouz

Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Rod Wing

Professor of Plant Science Director of Center for Desert Agriculture

Center Operations Team

Suja Muralidharan

Administrative Assistant

Luis Fernando Rivera Serna

CDA System Administrator

Research Interests: Bioinformatics, Omics Tools, Machine Learning, Biological DB, HPC

Kangli Zheng

Administrative Assistant

Sadaf Umer

Lab Manager

Research Interests: Occupational health

Anna Rautek

Center Manager

Research Scientist

Naganang Rayapuram

Research Scientist

Haroon Butt

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Genome engineering, Directed evolution, RNA splicing

Vanessa Melino

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Plant Physiology, Plant nutrition, Salinity tolerance, Root architecture, Ion transport

Boubacar A. Kountche

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Genetics, Plant Breeding

Ryan Lefers

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Food/water/energy nexus, controlled environment agriculture, saltwater-based agriculture, aquaponics, horticulture lighting, circular agriculture system

Muhammad Jamil

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Plant physiology, Agronomy, Weed biology and Ecology, Plant signaling and parasite-interactions, Phytohormoes and Biostimulants

Andrea Zuccolo

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Plant comparative genomics, Bioinformatics, Transposable elements, Evolution, Genome sequencing, Genome assembly, Genome annotation

Zahir Ali

Research Scientist

Research Interests: CRISPR/Cas system, Plant Genome Engineering, Virus resistance, Synthetic Biology

Maged Saad

Senior Research Scientist

Research Interests: Personalized Desert Agriculture, Microbial breeding, Biostimulants, Microbial genetic and bacterial evaluation, Plant microbiome, Function synthetic community (Fun SynCom).

Research Staff

Lila Aldakheel

Technical Assistant

Norhan Hassan

Research Specialist

Safya Zaoui

Lab Technician

Lingli Zou

Lab Support

Shanshan Song

Research Assistant

Yanjun Wei

Lab Technician

Trang Dinh

Lab Support

Bhagya Lakshmi Girjia

Lab Support Technician

Research Interests: Women's health, Cardiovascular & Neuro physiology

Yasha Zhang

Research Assistant

Research Interests: Marine ecology, Materials modeling

Noha Omar Saber

Lab Technician

Research Interests: Molecular Biology, Salinity tolerance

Lamis Berqdar

Research assistant

Research Interests: Plant Science, Molecular biology and data analysis

Yanjun Guo

Technician of greenhouse & field

Research Interests: Phenotyping, Fonio

Snehal Salmothe

Research Assistant

Apana Balakrishna

Research Specialist

Research Interests: Carotenoids, Carotenoid Cleavage Dioxygenase, Apocarotenoids CCD, Gene expression, Enzymatic activity

Olga Artyukh

Laboratory technician

Hongwei Ren

Greenhouse Technician

Research Interests: Salinity tolerance, Tomato

Gabriele Fiene

Research Specialist

Research Interests: Salinity tolerance, domestication, Field trails, Crop wild relatives

Chakravarthy Rajan

Research Specialist

Research Interests: Plant Molecular Biology, Plant Secondary Metabolites, Cell culture and Tissue culture, Plant transformation studies

Abrar Deek

Lab Support

Research Interests: Desert agriculture research projects

Vijayachandrik Venkataraman

Lab Techinician

Research Interests: Biochemistry, Diabetes Research, Genetics, Plant Science

Dinara Utarbayeva

Greenhouse Technician

Research Interests: Crossing , grafting tomatoes. Germination and propagating Coarctata rice

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alice Fornasiero

Postdoctoral fellow

Research Interests: Plant genomics, Plant pangenomes, Evolution, Genetic mapping, Segregation distortion, Genotyping-By-Sequencing, ddRAD-seq, Genome assembly

Kirti Shekhawat

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yajun Wang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Michael Abrouk

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Bioinformatics, Plant genetics, Sequencing, Comparative analysis, Evolution

Marilia Almeida-Trapp

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Plant Secondary Metabolites, Plant microbe interaction, Metabolome, Phytohormones

Gwendolyn Kirschner

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Root development, BIRD proteins, Rice, Microscopy

Noor Al-Bader

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Bioinformatics, Platinum-Standard RefSeq Genomes, Genome Annotation, Ontologies, Expression Analysis, Biostatistics, Abiotic and Biotic Plant Stress, Vegetable Breeding, Population Genetics

Xiongjie Zheng

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Apocarotenoids, Carotenoids, Genetics, metabolic engineering

Sivakrishna Gundra

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: CRISPR-Cas, Directed evolution, Crop improvement

Yong Zhou

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Rice, Genome, Comparative Genomics, Genetics, Evolution, NGS, PACBIO, Seuqel2, HiFi, Gene assembly, Iso-seq, RNA-Seq, Structural Variation, TE, Maize, Wheat, Spirodela, Traits, Gene regulation, Phenotyping

Jianing Mi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: LC-MS-based metabolomics, Plant hormones

Tingting Xiao

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Date palm development, Immunocytochemistry, Molecular Biology, Genetics

Naveenkumar Athiyannan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Disease resistance, Cereal genetics and genomics, Molecular biology and Biochemistry

Anamika Rawat

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Plant stress biology, Plant microbe interaction, Signal transduction

Arsheed Sheikh

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Plant, Molecular Biology

Shyam Gundu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Root development, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Cell biology and Molecular Biology

Dongryung Lee

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Salinity tolerance

Khalid Sedeek

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Plant genome engineering, Crop improvement

Mike Karampelias

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Plant Microbiology, Plant abiotic stress, Drought, Salinity, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Plant Immunity, Auxin homeostasis, Glucosinolates, Confocal microscopy, Arabidopsis, Wheat, Tomato

Elodie Rey

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Crops, Genomics, transcriptomics, polyploidy, domestication, stress resilience

Rashid Aman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Virus based plant genome engineering, CRISPR/Cas 9 (Cas9 and Cas13) technology for plant genome engineering, CRISPR/Cas13 based RNA virus interference and other RNA manipulations in plants, Abiotic Stress Tolerance (Salt-Tolerance), Plant Molecular Biology, Plant Biochemistry, Cross-talks between Flowering and Salt stress Tolerance, High Affinity Potassium Transport in Arabidopsis and Thellungiella salsuginea, Plant Physiology

PhD Student

Amal Alghamdi

Ph.D. Student

Boada Han

Ph.D. Student

Pei Yu Lin

Ph.D. Student

Monika Gyongyi

Ph.D Student

Radwa Kamel

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Molecular Biology, Genome engineering

Shahid Chaudhary

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Viral vectors, Bio-production, Synthetic biology

Clara S. Stanschewski

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Plant Genetics, Plant Phenotyping, Genome-Wide Association Studies, Genotype x Environment interactions, Plant Domestication, Climate Change

Jian You Wang

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Zaxionone, Strigolactones, Metabolomics, Analytical chemistry

Tin Marsic

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Genome engineering, Synthetic biology

Khairiah Alwutayd

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Plant-Bacterial interactions, transcriptomics, Molecular Biology

Abrar Felemban

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Apocarotenoids, Botryis cinerea, CRISPR-Cas

Abdugaffor Ablazov

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Plant Molecular Biology, Reverse genetics, CRISPR-Cas, Apocarotenoids, Zaxionone

Hanin Ahmed

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Crop domestication, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Population Genetics, Plant Biology and Desert agriculture

Aaron Pantoja Angles

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Synthetic biology, CRISPR

Anna Siodmak

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Plant Science, Plant-Pathogen Interaction, Reactive Oxygen Signaling, MAPK signaling, Translation, Ribosomes

Yu Yang

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Marine ecology, Materials modeling

Justine Braguy

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Plant Biology, Strigolactones, Synthetic biology

Wenjun Jiang

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Genome editing, CRISPR

Ahad Kababji

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Genome engineering, Synthetic biology

Nathaly Rodriguez Ortiz

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Tomato, Salinity tolerance, Grafting, polyploidy

Prabhu Manickam

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Plant genetics, Plant signalling and plant Biochemistry

Abdul Aziz Eida

PhD Student

Research Interests: Plant growth-promoting bacteria; PGPR; Plant-microbe interactions; Abiotic stress; Salinity stress; Plant-associated microbiota; Synthetic community (SynCom) application; Microbial inoculants; Desert microbes; DARWIN21.

Master Student

Edith Sanchez Hernandez

Master Student

Research Interests: Genome engineering, CRISPR-Cas, Genome editing, Food security

Qianchu Wang

Master Student

Aseel Alsantely

Master Student

Research Interests: Computational genomics

Dona Alburi

Master Student

Vinicius Lube

PhD Student