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Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran Phenomics Lab
Rebecca J. McGee, Research Geneticist, Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research Lab, USDA-ARS; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Crops and Soil Sciences, Pullman, WA

McGee’s research focuses on breeding and genetics of pulse crops – primarily spring-sown peas and lentils and autumn-sown peas, lentils, and chickpeas. The main emphasis is on developing high yielding, adapted varieties with resistance to biotic stresses (soil borne pathogens, aphid-vectored viral diseases, and foliar fungal pathogens) as well as the abiotic stresses of heat, cold and drought stress. End use quality characteristics, including bio-fortification for mineral nutrients, is also addressed in the program. Prior to joining USDA-ARS lab, she was a Principal Scientist at General Mills and was a director agricultural research for Seneca Foods Corporation. She has been involved in the Pumping Up the Math and Science Pipeline program, that teaches science courses in schools with the Colville Confederated Tribes and Kalispell tribes, and provides summer internship opportunities to college-bound graduated seniors.

Program Description:

Pulse crops grown in the inland Pacific Northwest mature under conditions of heat and drought stress. Of the many traits the pea and lentil breeding programs evaluate, response to heat and drought stress are some of the most difficult. Utilizing high-throughput robotic phenotyping systems (DJI Phantom 4 system with RGB and multispectral cameras) and a ground robot (TerraSentia), the research group (in close collaboration with Dr. Clarice Coyne) aims to evaluate USDA lentil collection to evaluate heat tolerance and yield responses of genetic materials. In field conditions, the student can be involved in data acquisition and interpretation, combining phenomic and genotypic data, and, finally, in selection.

Location: Pullman, WA


Dr. Rebecca McGee