Randall J. Wisser
Assistant Professor, Plant Genetics
University of Delaware
Plant and Soil Sciences
163 Townsend Hall (office)
304 Worrilow Hall (lab)
Newark, DE 19716
Postdoctoral Associate 2006-2008 Mentors: Dr. Peter Balint-Kurti, Plant Pathology and Dr. James Holland, Department of Crop Science, NCSU, Raleigh, NC
Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics 2006 Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Dissertation: The genetic architecture of quantitative resistance in the cereals.
B.S. in Biological Science 2000 Florida International University, Miami, FL Honors thesis: Analysis of heterokaryon formation in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense.
Quantitative trait variation, which is generally controlled by multiple genes with small and cumulative effects, is the rule rather than the exception in nature. I am fundamentally interested in contributing to understanding the genetic and mechanistic basis of quantitative trait variation and how this may leverage crop improvement. My research projects use population genetic-, genomic-, and bioinformatic-based approaches to address questions in plant genetics and breeding. The themes of my investigations converge on elucidating the genetic architecture of plant quantitative disease resistance in the grasses with a special focus on maize and its diseases. Currently, there are three emphasized topics of research in my lab: (i) development of methods for understanding population improvement from short-term selection, (ii) analysis of single and multiple disease resistance, and (iii) extending quantitative genetics methods to study natural plant pathogen variation.