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I am a quantitative geneticist and systems biologist interested in plant-microbe interactions. My previous work during my PHD has focused on plant genetic control of central and specialized metabolism as well as the importance of genetic variation in the plant host and fungal necrotrophic pathogen in quantitative resistance. My undergraduate and Master’s work explored the use of biotechnology for restoration of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) to the eastern forests of North America after the introduction of the devastating chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica). At CSU, I am working to understand on how plant intra-specific variation shapes host-associated microbiomes and how plant hosts can shape the microbial communities that inhabit them.


KEVIN LEHNER | Office: C029 Plant Science Building | Email:

I am a postdoc in John McKay’s lab. I study the complex interactions between genetics and environment in corn and sorghum. My goal is to identify genes that promote stable crop yields under drought stress. Originally from the hot and humid southeast, I am a proud graduate of Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. I received my PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University in 2018.


FEDERICO MARTIN | Office: C209 Plant Science Building | Email:

I’m a native from Santa Fe, Argentina and my educational background include an B.S. from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. My main area of interest is plant molecular biology and cell development focusing mostly in cereal crops. Currently, I’m working on an NSF funded project aimed to improve rice disease resistance response utilizing genome editing technology to analyze transcriptional activation of disease resistance QTLs.

DSC_9195 - yuan zeng

YUAN ZENG | Office: C202 Plant Science Building | Email:

I am originally from China, and I came to U.S. for graduate school in Auburn University (Alabama) in Forestry, Entomology, and Statistics. I joined Dr. Amy Charkowski’s laboratory in Fall 2017 at Colorado State University, and my research in San Luis Valley Research Center focuses on improving detection and management of soil-borne potato pathogens, with an emphasis on Potato mop-top virus (PMTV), a virus causes necrosis of potato, and its vector Spongospora subterranea, the agent responsible for powdery scab on potato tubers in order to aid local farmers in understanding soil-borne potato pathogens and improving management strategies.

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