University of Georgia

Peggy Ozias-AkinsProfessor Peggy Ozias-Akins

Principal Investigator

Professor Peggy Ozias-Akins is a UGA Distinguished Research Professor and conducts research on female plant reproduction, particularly the genetic and genomic analysis of apomixis in grasses, along with breeding and genetic research in legumes (peanut and cowpea). Apomixis research in her lab led to identification and functional characterization of a gene for parthenogenesis from Pennisetum squamulatum (PsASGR-BBML). In addition to research, Professor Ozias-Akins is active in the leadership of the UGA Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics and the National Association of Plant Breeders.

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Joann ConnerJoann Conner

Associate Research Scientist

Joann Conner is an Associate Research Scientist at The University of Georgia who has been researching various topics of apomixis for twenty years. Her research goal remains to identify the genetic components responsible for apomixis in natural species and to transfer this mechanism into crop species.


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Jonathon WillisDr Jonathan Willis

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr Jonathan Willis has been reading about agriculture biotechnology and its applications to real world problems since high school. He applied biotechnological tools to improve switchgrass as a biofuel crop through modifying cell wall digestibility and developing transgene biocontainment strategies. He is looking to expand his toolset with legumes, as well as apply, what he has done in grasses to cowpea.

Hua KangHua Kang

Research Professional

Hua Kang previously worked as Research Professional in plant pathology, crop and soil science areas. She joined Professor Ozias-Akins’ lab in July 2021. Her goal is to implement lab management, perform tissue culture and transformation experiments of cowpea, and help sample and data collection in lab, greenhouse and field.

Cassidy McGaheeCassidy McGahee

Research Technician

Cassidy McGahee is a recent graduate from The University of Georgia and is working as a Research Technician in support of the Hy-Gain project.

Huiqin ChenHuiqin Chen

Research Technician

Huiqin Chen joined the team in December of 2020. Her goal is to help conduct research on genetic engineering, tissue culture, and marker-assisted selection in the molecular breeding of cowpea.

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