My research program focuses on understanding mechanisms of plant tolerance to abiotic stress tolerance, including heat, drought, and salinity for grass species, with emphasis on cool-season turfgrass species. We are interested in the discovery of key physiological factors, regulatory metabolic pathways, and candidate genes, as well as molecular markers linked to phenotypic traits, such as leaf senescence, tillering, and root development, taking an integrated approach in whole-plant physiology, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and molecular biology. We also investigate symbiotic interaction of microbiome and plants to determine mechanisms of how beneficial endophytic bacteria colonizing plant root systems may regulate plant growth and abiotic stress tolerance. The information obtained in our program provides mechanistic insights into plant tolerance to abiotic stress for genetic improvement of plants and practical guidelines or recommendations for developing effective cultural practices for managing turfgrass in adverse environments.
The currently funded project by the Center for Turfgrass Science investigates effects of plant-health products on summer performance of annual bluegrass.