Our lab is using the economically important crop maize as our study system to address the overarching question of how to leverage wild ancestors to improve domesticated crops, especially under stress conditions (i.e., low nitrogen).

To do so, our lab is focusing on bridging the genotype-phenotype (G2P) divide during maize domestication processes by using quantitative genetics/genomics and statistical modeling approaches, specifically studying the mode of inheritance of genetic loci in determining complex traits, such as grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE).

At a broader scale, we are keen to integrate various large-scale biological datasets such as phenomics, genomics, transcriptomics, methylomics data and functional annotations to boost the power of Genome-wide Association Study and Genomic Selection.

Our lab’s major interests (see research page for more details) include:

  • Studing methylome evolution in reshaping the patterns of the gene regulation in domesticated crops
  • Using quantitative and population genetics approaches to understand the genetic architecture of agronomically important traits, and how deleterious alleles shape the patterns of plant adaptation.
  • Exploring the genetic basis of heterosis and predicting hybrid performance by incorporating biological annotation information.
  • Collecting and modeling complex phenotypes, such as molecular phenotypes, time series phenotypes, or phenotypes obtained via image analyses, and understanding the molecular mechanism controlling for plant development.

If you are interested in any of the above topics, read more about how to join the lab.