The EPSCoR project titled “Comparative Genomics and Phenomics Approach to Discover Genes Underlying Heat Stress Resilience in Cereals” is an RII Track-2 FEC grant project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal of this research project is to create foundational knowledge needed to improve climate resilience of wheat and rice cultivars. To this end the project seeks to achieve the following specific objectives: (1) explore the phenotypic diversity for high night temperature tolerance in rice and wheat diversity panels using an automated imagebased phenomics approach; (2) perform physiological and morphological screening for high night temperature tolerance by using field-based phenomics infrastructure; (3) perform comparative metabolomics and transcriptomics to capture mechanisms inducing high night temperature resilience; (4) build the genome to phenome linkages using genome-wide association analysis with phenotypic and omics datasets to identify and characterize candidate genes; and (5) train a diverse workforce that can apply state of the art technologies to address the HNT global challenge and build pathways to promote scientific literacy and to draw a diverse talent pool into the fields of biology, agriculture, and computational science.
MERC is helping the project evaluate outputs and outcomes of the education/outreach component (i.e., the Objective (5)). MERC is collaborating with the research team to develop evaluation and data collection plan and is analizing the collected data and reporting evaluation findings. The evaluation will include formative measures to guide the implementation and improvement of the education/outreach programs over the project life in an attempt to increase the effects in target audiences.
Changsoo SongRESEARCH ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Methodology and Evaluation Research Core Facility at SBSRC