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CPSC in the News
 
 
 
 
 
What happens when the coronavirus mutates?

New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, a Crop Sciences professor has been studying and cataloging genetic mutations to the virus. In an interview, Caetano-Anollés discussed viral mutation and what it could mean for vaccinations. Read more here.

 
 
 
 
Energy Sorghum May Combine Best of Annual, Perennial Bioenergy Crops

A study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) found that energy sorghum behaves more like miscanthus in the way it efficiently captures light and uses water to produce abundant biomass. It has higher nitrogen emissions like maize, but researchers believe careful fertilizer management could reduce those levels. The study offers an important first look at how energy sorghum compares to maize and miscanthus grown in the Midwest, providing critical data for biogeochemical and ecological models used to forecast crop growth, productivity, and sustainability. The study was led by former CABBI Postdoctoral Researcher Caitlin Moore and her advisor, CPSC professor Carl Bernacchi. Read more here.

 
 
 
 
Employment Outlook is Promising for New College Graduates in Agriculture

“Future development of our complex global food system requires the brightest minds from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and disciplines working together to solve the challenges before us,” said Parag Chitnis, acting director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “This report shows that students across America who are studying food, agriculture and related sciences to take on these challenges have made a sound career choice and will graduate into a strong and growing job market in the years ahead.” Read more here.

 
 
New Faculty
 
 
 
 
 
Welcome Dr. Heaton!

Dr. Emily Heaton joined the UIUC Crop Sciences faculty as Professor of Regenerative Agriculture and leader of the Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative in January 2021.

 
 
Curriculum Announcement
 
 
 
 
 
New CPSC Major

Our new Plant Biotechnology major has been approved! It is currently open to transfer students from Spring 2021 onward and to new applicants during the Fall 2021 admissions cycle.

 
 
Extra! Extra!
 
 
 
 
 
An Interview with Tony Studer

How long have you been at the U of I and what is your current position?

I have been an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois for 5½ years. In my lab we mainly study the genetic control of physiological traits related to photosynthesis and water use in corn. But we also study the evolution of photosynthesis in wild grasses, traits related to biofuel production in sorghum, and even some popcorn breeding. I teach CPSC 352 Plant Genetics for undergraduates and CPSC 566 Plant Gene Regulation for graduate students. I like these courses because I’m passionate about genetics and there are a lot of examples from my research that I can use in class to give the material some application. It is pretty easy to get me excited about most any topic in genetics. Tony Studer is an Assistant Professor.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the variety. Working in the lab, but also in the greenhouse and field. Running a research lab, but also having the opportunity to teach and do extension. Also, undergraduate students are the main reason I wanted to work at a university and not in industry or at a research only institute. There is something wonderful about the excitement of a new semester. It is so rewarding to work with them in lab and in the classroom. One of the most bittersweet semesters was when I had four undergraduate students in my lab graduate, some of which who had worked in my lab since I started. Read more here.

 
 
 
 
 
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