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Researchers affiliated with the School of Integrative Plant Science seek solutions to major challenges facing humanity, from food security in a changing climate to well-being in an increasingly urbanized world.

Challenge: Foundational Knowledge

  • Study plants as model organisms for understanding the basic biology of diverse evolving and living systems (faculty list, research themes)
  • Understand the properties of soils and the basis for soil impact on plant productivity, microbial communities, and nutrient fluxes. (faculty list, research themes)
  • Investigate the diversity of plant-associated microbes and the evolving molecular/cellular contacts between microbes and plants. (faculty list, research themes)

Challenge: Food Security

  • Develop and deploy crop systems that use genomic diversity and field-data systems to maximize productivity, minimize resource inputs, and increase stress tolerance (faculty list, research themes).
  • Manage biotic interactions with plants for improved productivity, sustainability, and food safety and security (faculty list, research themes).
  • Utilize plant genomic diversity and innovative growing systems to produce crops with enhanced food value and improved properties for growers, agricultural communities, and food systems (faculty list, research themes).

Challenge: Environmental Conservation

Challenge: Plants and People

  • Explore and improve the ability of plants to enhance culinary enjoyment and human health (faculty list, research themes).
  • Improve the ability of plants to enhance aesthetic pleasure and well-being, and develop managed landscapes that are environmentally friendly and adaptable in a changing climate (faculty list, research themes).

Research by Crop

A substantial number of SIPS faculty and senior researchers concentrate their activities on specific crop plants.  Research activities related to specific crops are highlighted on the Research by Crop page. Major crops listed are: Apples, Biofuels (including willow and herbaceous sources), Cassava, Fruits and Berries, Grape, Maize, Ornamentals (including trees, turf, and flowers), Potato, Rice, Small Grains, Tomato, and Vegetables (including peppers, squash, bean, and brassica for specialty, fresh, and processing markets)

Organic Agriculture Research and Education

Providing materials and resources for organic producers is an increasingly important part of the SIPS mission as market share for organic products continues to expand.  Areas receiving attention include breeding for disease resistance, optimizing strategies for disease prediction, suppression and management using organic methods, and communication of research findings to students and stakeholders.