PMCB graduates have secured excellent job positions and our alumni are now leaders in the academic, industry, government, and non-profit sectors. Here are some of our alumni by year of graduation:


Ann Bernert, PhD

Ann is currently pursuing a law degree at UF which she intends to integrate with her PMCB doctorate for her future goal of working as a patent attorney. Ann received the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Student Research Fellowship in 2018 while working with Dr. Gilles Basset.

Jerald Noble, PhD

Jerald Noble (aka JD) is now an Applied Research Scientist at Moffitt Cancer Center working under Dr. Timothy Robinson investigating oncologically relevant alternative splicing. During his Ph.D. JD conducted genomic and transcriptomic research on Populus deltoides in the Kirst and Barbazuk labs.

Shengchen Shan, PhD

Shengchen is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Laboratoty of Molecular Systematics & Evolutionary Genetics, working with Drs. Doug and Pam Soltis. Shengchen investigated polyploidy in Tragopogon species during his doctoral studies with Dr. Doug Soltis.

Drake Garner, PhD

Drake is now an Instructional Designer, Educator, and Curriculum Developer Consultant with Tynker. While in Dr. Colquhoun and Dr. Folta labs, Drake's research focus was to understand regulation of petunia volatiles by narrow-bandwidth red light (668 nm). Drake built Exploring Plants, a plataform to disseminate information about plant science in K-12 classrooms.


Tim Johnson, PhD

Tim has been a Research Scientist, Chemistry with Driscoll’s since graduating with us. During his doctoral studies, Tim investigated volatile compounds and its potential for large-scale studied volatile phenotype screening to assist breeding for flavor in blueberry.

Yongduo Sun, PhD

Yongduo has been a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Svetlana Folimonova, where during his doctoral studies researched host immune responses to defend plants against citrus tristeza virus. Click here for his New Phytologist paper.

Scott Latimer, PhD

Scott is now a post-doctoral reseracher with Dr. Gilles Basset. While in the Basset lab, Scott investigated biosynthetic genes and connections to the metabolism of plant terpenoid quinones.

Michael Riley, PhD

Michael was the recipient of a prestigious McKnight Doctoral Fellowship while working on his doctorate in Dr. Wilfred Vermerris' lab. Michael investigated the development of lignin nanomaterials as a gene delivery system of DNA for therapeutic purposes, which is attractive due to the low cytotoxicity of such materials.


Chris Barbey, PhD

Chris is now a post-doctoral researcher with Drs. Vance Whitaker and Seonghee Lee, in the UF Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. During his doctoral studies, Chris identified candidate genes controlling flavor and disease resistance in octoploid strawberry and its application for developing superior cultivars.

Joe Collins, PhD

After serving as an adjunct lecturer for BSC2005 in the Biology Department, Joe is now a Postdoc in Pharmacogenomics and Precision Medicine at UF. For his doctoral research Joe investigated the role of Topless (TPL) corepressor and its implications regarding complex formation and novel interactions occurring at the WD40-repeats.

Peng Liu, PhD

Peng is a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Karen Koch where he is currently working on the transport path for sugars and amino acids entering kernels, and signaling during early development of maize endosperms. During his Ph.D., Peng researched the importance of C partitioning and C/N balance in maize kernels when mitochondrial electron-transport chain is disrupted in the rug3 mutant.

Sheldon Lawrence, PhD

Sheldon, a first-generation college student in Dr. Sixue Chen lab, has received the prestigious NIH SPIRE (Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education postdoctoral fellowship. He now conducts research in the Chemistry Department at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill identifying plant proteins that are useful in the creation of novel medicines. Read more about Sheldon here.

M. Angelica Sanclemente, PhD

Angelica is currently a post-doc in the Science department at Utrecht University, Netherlands under the supervision of Dr. Rashmi Sasidharan. The focus of her lab is plant ecophysiology. Fore her doctorate degree, Angelica investigated genome-wide effects of sugars during low-oxygen conditions in maize roots. She studied gene networks, metabolic balance, and the central role of Ndpk (Nucleoside Diphosphate Kinase) of sugar-modulated components on the hypoxic response of maize.


Guanqiao Feng, PhD

Guanqiao is now a post-doc with Dr. Matt Olson at Texas Tech, working on sex chromosome evolution in poplars and willows. While in the Barbazuk lab, Guanqiao studied the evolution of plant 3R-MYB and TIFY gene families and jasmonate induced alternative splicing responses in Arabidopsis. For more, check her website.

Natasha Sng, PhD

Natasha has secured a post-doc (starting in June 18) at the renown NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in CA with Dr. K. Venkateswaran. While in the UF Space Plants Lab with Drs. R Ferl and A-L Paul, Natasha uncovered an unknown gene important not only to the physiological adaptation to spaceflight but also in the ROS signaling pathway on Earth.

Camila Ribeiro, PhD

Camila recently accepted a postdoctoral research associate position in Dr. Nian Wang's lab, UF Citrus Research and Education Center. For her dissertation, Camila investigated the roles of 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase in maize seed development under heat stresses in Dr. Mark Settles' lab.

Matt Dommel, PhD

Matt recently started his postdoctoral research associate position working with Dr. Frank White, UF Plant Pathology Department. While pursuing his Ph.D. in Dr. Zhonglin Mou's lab, Matt studied NPR1 protein regulation and the salicylic acid signaling pathway in Arabidopsis.


Kelly Balmant, PhD

Kelly is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the UF Forest Genomics Lab. For her dissertation, Kelly worked with redox proteomics of plant innate immunity in stomatal guard cells with Sixue Chen.

Annette Fahrenkrog, PhD

Annette is currently a consultant in Chile. While in the UF Forest Genomics Lab Annette investigated the genetic diversity and the genetic regulation of bioenergy traits and its adaptation to climate in Populus deltoides.

Sisi Geng, PhD

Sisi is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the UF Chen Lab. Sisi was partially funded by the China Scholarship Council and studied the guard cell metabolism under elevated and low CO2 using metabolomics and proteomics.

Junya Zhang, PhD

Junya is a is a post-doctoral researcher in the Settles’ Lab. Junya worked with maize defective kernel 5 (dek5) and was partially funded by the China Scholarship Council.


Elton C. Gonçalves, PhD

Elton is an Associate Research Scientist with the Algal Research Consortium, New Mexico State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory. For his dissertation, Elton investigated how nitrogen starvation induces lipid production in algae with Dr. Saba.

Jiani Yang, PhD

Jiani is a postdoctoral researcher with the Eveland's research group at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (Dr. Eveland is a PMCB alumna). Jiani researched embryo lethal plastid translation mutants and their genetic suppressors in maize with Don McCarty.

Saul Sotomayor, MS

Saul received a Fulbright fellowship from Bolivia and worked with Dr. Rathinasabapathi (Dr. Saba) on elucidanting the roles of the fern Glutaredoxin, Pvgrx5 and its iInvolvement in oxidative stress tolerance.

Eric Schultz, PhD

Eric is a Research Scientist with Dupont Pioneer, Johnston, IA. Eric worked in UF Space Plants Lab examining the way plants respond to environmental cues for root orientation and development – both in microgravity and on Earth.


Ken Ellens, PhD

Ken is a Policy and Program Analyst at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa. Ken examined the methionine salvage pathway in bacteria and plants in the Hanson lab .

Cintia Ribeiro, PhD

WCíntia holds a renowned Emerging Leaders in Science position with Monsanto. Cíntia studied the previously uncharacterized gene EVE1 that regulates number and size of vessel cells which may be the origin of all land plants, including all agricultural crops.

Amanda Pendleton, PhD

Amanda is a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Jeff Kidd’s lab in the Human Genetics Department, University Michigan Medical School. Amanda analyzed the Avr1 gene in the fusiform rust pathogen by genome-wide association and phylogenomic inference.

Christy Gault, PhD

Christy is a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Ed Buckler's lab at Cornell University. Christy invetigated the role of the Rough Endosperm3 splicing factor in maize development in a collaborative study in the M. Settles and Brad Barbazuk's labs.

Jiyoung Park, PhD

Jiyoung is a postdoctoral researcher in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Jiyoung received her Ph.D. degree working in the Byung-Ho Kang lab.

Jared Westbrook, PhD

Jared is a Quantitative Geneticist with The American Chesnut Foundation, Ashesville, NC. In the Davis Lab, Jared studied genes that regulate resin canal development in Pinus by integrating association genetic and QTL analysis across environments, ages, and populations.


Haiyan Jia, PhD

Haiyan is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Biology, Alan Jones Lab , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. In the McCarty Lab she investigated the role of the B3 domain transcription factors in controlling the maturation phase of seed development.

Leandro Neves, PhD

Leandro is the co-founder and Sr. Vice President of RAPiD Genomics, a company that develops genomic solutions to breeding of agricultural and forestry crops. Leandro's research combined DNA target enrichment strategies and highthroughput DNA sequencing to characterize the pine genome.

Michael Schwieterman, PhD

Mike is currently a Sr. Chemistry Scientist with the Consumer and Molecular Lab at Driscoll's. Mike examined metabolites, environmental factors, and transgenic approaches to understand strawberry flavor the Clark Lab.

Yihai Wang, PhD

Yihai is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher working with tomato genome editing at North Carolina State University. Yihai examined the role of phot12 receptor on stem growth elongation in the Kevin Folta Lab group.

Jennifer Parker, PhD

Jennifer is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Chemistry at North Carolina State University. In the Chen Lab, Jennifer examined proteomic changes in tomato after infection with Pseudomonas.


Katherine Smith, MS

Kathy graduated in summer 2012 with a M.Sc. degree and worked with Dr. John Davis. She currently works with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Institute for Forest Genetics.

Sharon Tan, MS

Sharon earned her B.S. from Linfield College, Oregon. She graduated in summer 2012 with a Masters degree, under the supervision of Dr. Wilfred Vermerris.

Federico Martin, PhD

Federico is a now a Research Scientist in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University. In the Settles Lab, Federico focused on maize genetics and mapping with emphasis on gene regulation through alternative splicing.

Patricio Munoz, PhD

Patricio leads the UF Blueberry Breeding & Genomics Lab as an Assistant Professor at the UF Horticultural Sciences Department. From 2013 to 2016 Patrício held the position of Forage Breeding and Genomics Assistant Professor with the UF Agronomy Department.


Melissa Hamner Mageroy, PhD

Melissa is a Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Bio-Economy, after receiving a FRIPRO Young Researcher Talent Grant in 2016 by the Norwegian Research Council. In the Klee Lab, Melissa investigated the biosynthesis of tomato flavor molecules.

Brent O'Brien, PhD

Brent graduated in Fall 2011 with a Ph.D. degree while working with Dr. Koch. Cuurently he is a Research Scientist with GrassRoots Biotechnology Inc., Durham, NC.


Tariq Akhtar, PhD

Tariq is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. The Tariq Akhtar Lab focuses on combining plant compounds with the technology to elucidate the molecular and biochemical basis for their synthesis.

Tufan Gokirmak, PhD

Tufan is currently a Cell Biologist with Thermo Fisher Scientific. From 2010 to June 2016 he was a Postdoctoral Researcher with The Scripps Institute of Oceanography. In the UF Space Lab Tufan examined the phosphorylation of Arabidopsis 14-3-3 in regulating critical physiological functions.

Yan He, PhD

Yan is a Professor with the National Maize Center, College of Biotechnology and Agronomy, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China. Yan was a Graduate Research Assistant and Postdoctoral Associate in the Chen Lab.

Chip Hunter, PhD

Charles (Chip) is a Research Geneticist in the Chemistry Research Unit of the Agriculture Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) in Gainesville, FL. Chip was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UF and Postdoctoral Researcher in the Koch Lab.

Gregory Maloney, PhD

Greg is a Scientist Team Lead at Novozymes BioAg in Raleigh-Durham, NC. From 2010 to 2014 Greg was a Research Assistant Professor of Biology at Wake Forest University. In the Klee Lab, Greg investigated genes involved in the tomato flavor metabolism.

Jonathan Martin, PhD

Currently Jonathan is the Lead Scientist of Clinical Pharmacology with ebbu LLC in Evergreen, CO. Previously, Jonathan was a Molecular Biologist with Gevo and a Research Associate with the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at University of Colorado.

Tania Quesada, PhD

Tania is the Program Coordinator and a Postdoctoral Associate with the UF Forest Biology Research Cooperative, School of Forest Resources and Conservation. As a Graduate Research Assistant, Tania studied the association mapping for disease resistance in loblolly pine.


Thomas Colquhoun, PhD

Currently, Thomas is a Plant Biotechnology Assistant Professor in the Environmental Horticulture Department at UF. The Colquhoun Lab focuses on the elucidation and manipulation of plant volatile compound biosynthesis, and basic and applied interactions of plant produced stimuli with animals.

Derek Drost, PhD

Derek is the Discovery Genomics Strategy Lead with Monsanto, Sacramento, CA. Derek leads discovery efforts across vegetable crop portfolio in genomics, gene editing, and technology implementation and also analyzes genomic technology for breeding and development.