Our group is interested in studying genome evolution in forest trees and other plants using both experimental and computational approaches.
Conifers, and pine trees in particular, are the main subjects of our research. We are investigating on topics that range from genome size evolution to horizontal transfer of transposable elements, and from gene duplication to the genetic bases of drought tolerance.
Because there is no shortage of super exciting things one can do in genomics, we have also begun to explore the relationship between soil microbiome communities and juniper/live oak encroachment in semi-arid environments, and the molecular menage-a-trois between plants, pathogens and beneficial root microbes. To do all this, we rely on both existing genomic/transcriptomic resources and we generate next-gen sequencing datasets on our own.
Even more importantly, we have established very productive collaborations with other labs at TAMU and in other Universities both in the U.S. and abroad. We are especially fortunate to work together with scientists at the Texas A&M Forest Service, the ESSM Department Forest Science Laboratory and the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station to develop new approaches for the sequencing of large genomes, using a state of the art laser capture microdissection microscope.
And yes, we do use BLAST a lot!