Graduate Student Research Projects

Current Students | Alumni

Sierra Bonney

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Lead Advisor Dr. Debora Esposito
Committee Members
Home Department Animal Science
Research Summary

 

Funding Sponsor

Haley Burtch

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Lead Advisor Dr. Mario Ferruzzi
Committee Members
Home Department Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
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Funding Sponsor

Monique Carvalho de Santana

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Lead Advisor Dr. Colin Kay
Committee Members Dr. Mary Ann Lila, Dr. Massimo Iorizzo, and Dr. Mario Ferruzzi
Home Department Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
Research Summary Monique Carvalho de Santana’s doctorate research focuses on the pharmacokinetics of blueberry phytochemical compounds through consumption of the produce and of a blueberry-containing product in a clinical study. It attempts to purpose a redefinition of daily servings that can supply some deficiencies in the diet of most Americans.
She obtained her master’s degree in the University of Campinas (Campinas, SP, Brazil) in 2018 by developing a method to control ascorbic acid via near-infrared spectroscopy and analyzing the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc in powdered soft drinks.
Funding Sponsor  North Carolina State University

Samantha Case

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Lead Advisor Dr. Xu “Sirius” Li
Committee Members Dr. José Alonso, Dr. Mary Ann Lila, Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh, Dr. Massimo Iorizzo, Robert Reid
Home Department Plant and Microbial Biology
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Plants produce a multitude of compounds that aid not only in the plant’s survival, reproduction, and defense, but also in improving human health when consumed. My research project is focused on developing a base metabolome, analyzing the multiple genes regulating the metabolites, and associating the metabolites to important agronomic and consumer-preference traits in broccoli and blueberry. The development of a base metabolome will provide a foundation for future research identifying specific metabolites with the potential to improve human health and ameliorate chronic diseases.
Funding Sponsors P2EP

Diane Ducharme

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Lead Advisor Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie
Committee Members
Home Department Horticultural Science
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Funding Sponsor

Micaela Hayes

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Lead Advisor Dr. Mario Ferruzzi
Committee Members Dr. Allen Foegeding, Dr. Massimo Iorizzo, and Dr. Mary Ann Lila
Home Department Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutritional Sciences
Research Summary Research focuses on characterization and determination of bioaccesibility of targeted nutrients/phytochemicals within fruit varieties and between food matrices for bananas and blueberry products.
Funding Sponsor

Su Liu

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Lead Advisor Dr. Massimo Iorizzo
Committee Members
Home Department Horticultural Science
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Funding Sponsor PHHI

 

Bryan Munoz

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Lead Advisor Dr. Massimo Iorizzo
Committee Members
Home Department Horticultural Science
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Funding Sponsor

John Overall

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Lead Advisor Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky
Committee Members
Home Department Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science
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Erika Pambianchi

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Lead Advisor Dr. Giuseppe Valacchi
Committee Members
Home Department Animal Science and Nutrition
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My research is focusing on the evaluation of the effects of environmental pollution as a source of oxidative stress on the skin, and on the molecular and signal pathways involved in the cellular responses to these stimuli. In this context, studying how to counteract the pollution-induced cutaneous inflammation through dietary interventions and/or topical applications of phytochemicals present in berry extracts could help us preventing the occurrence of skin diseases and/or improving the preexisting conditions.
Funding Sponsor   PHHI
Publications Cavicchio C, Benedusi M, Pambianchi E, Pecorelli A, Cervellati F, Savelli V, Calamandrei D, Maellaro E, Rispoli G, Maioli E, Valacchi G. (2017). Potassium Ascorbate with Ribose: Promising Therapeutic Approach for Melanoma Treatment. Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2017;2017:4256519. doi: 10.1155/2017/4256519.

Brogi S, Ramunno A, Savi L, Chemi G, Alfano G, Pecorelli A, Pambianchi E, Galatello P, Compagnoni G, Focher F, Biamonti G, Valacchi G, Butini S, Gemma S, Campiani G, Brindisi M. (2017). First dual AK/GSK-3β inhibitors endowed with antioxidant properties as multifunctional, potential neuroprotective agents. Eur J Med Chem,138:438-457. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.06.017

Valacchi G, Pecorelli A, Belmonte G, Pambianchi E, Cervellati F, Lynch S, Krol Y, Oresajo C. (2017). Protective Effects of Topical Vitamin C Compound Mixtures against Ozone-Induced Damage in Human Skin.J Invest Dermatol, 137(6):1373-1375. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.01.034

 

Marlee Trandel

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Lead Advisor  Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veasie
Committee Members Dr. Jonathan Schultheis, Dr. Chris Gunter
Home Department Horticultural Science
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Hollow heart in watermelon is a physiological defect that is generally enhanced by pollination issues, watermelon variety, and drought stress. However, grafted watermelon are much less prone to this disorder due to differences in physicochemical and phytochemical attributes such as increased tissue firmness and rind thickness. Research is planning to target cell wall differences (pectins, hemicelluloses/xyloglucans etc.) and various enzymes in grafted compared to self-rooted watermelon to better identify why this physiological disorder is occurring. We also plan to better identify postharvest quality differences.
Funding Sponsor USDA-SCRI

 Charles Wagner

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Lead Advisor Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky
Committee Members Dr. Jillian De Gezelle, Dr. Xu “Sirius” Li, Dr. Richard Blanton
Home Department Plant and Microbial Biology
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Evidence Based Validation of the Herbal and Nutritional Tradition of the British Isles: from Antimicrobials to Microbiome Modulators

Funding Sponsor PHHI
publications Wagner, C. S., De Gezelle, J., Robertson, M., Robertson, K., Wilson, M., & Komarnytsky, S. (2017). Antibacterial activity of medicinal plants from The Physicians of Myddvai, a 14th century Welsh medical manuscript. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 203(Supplement C), 171–181.

Kozlowska W, Wagner C, Moore EM, Matkowski A and Komarnytsky S (2018) Botanical Provenance of Traditional Medicines From Carpathian Mountains at the Ukrainian-Polish Border. Front. Pharmacol. 9:295. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00295

Kathleen Walter

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Lead Advisor Dr. Debora Esposito
Committee Members
Home Department Animal Science
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Funding Sponsor

Ashley Yow

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Lead Advisor Dr. Massimo Iorizzo
Committee Members
Home Department Horticultural Science
Research Summary I am currently studying genomics of natural flowering in pineapple. Pineapple production is limited by stress-induced natural flowering, which causes reduced fruit size and non-uniform maturation in pineapple fields. Various hormonal treatments are used to delay natural flowering induction of pineapple. At the end of a growing season, hormones are then applied to induce flowering uniformly throughout a growing field. The purpose of my research is to understand how we can control stress-related natural flowering through incorporating genomic data into a molecular breeding program. The results found in this study will contribute to the development of stress-tolerant pineapple varieties, which will help reduce labor inputs, chemical usage, and production costs.
Funding Sponsor  Dole

Xueying Xie

Email

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Lead Advisor Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky
Committee Members
Home Department Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
Research Summary

 

Funding Sponsor

Kelsey Zielinski

Email

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Lead Advisor Dr. Mary Ann Lila
Committee Members Dr. Massimo Iorizzo (co-advisor), Dr. Hamid Ashrafi, Dr. Suzanne Johanningsmeier
Home Department Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
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Kelsey Zielinski began as a PhD student with NC State’s Plants for Human Health Institute in April 2016. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Clemson University in 2014. Following graduation she worked for two years in the lab of Dr. Stephen Kresovich, the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair of Genetics. In this position she worked with various populations and diversity panels of sorghum to identify regions of the genome that were responsible for traits related to plant biomass and grain composition. There she discovered her passion for population genetics and plant breeding, and upon acceptance of her current position, was all too excited to transition into a field where she could combine her personal interest for nutrition with breeding crops for human health. Her research project is currently being formulated, but will involve linking the potential nutritional values of blueberry anthocyanins with human health. In addition, her project will include surveying the blueberry genome to identify loci that contribute to accumulation of anthocyanins within blueberry and other Vaccinium species.
Funding Sponsor P2EP
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Dowling, M., G. Schnabel, M. Williamson, R.S. Sekhon, & K.J. Zielinski. (2016). First Report of Sorghum Anthracnose Caused by Colletotrichum sublineola in South Carolina. Plant Disease, 100(6), 1236.

Brenton, Z., E.A. Cooper, M.T. Myers, R.B. Boyles, N. Shakoor, K.J. Zielinski, B.L. Rauh, W.C. Bridges, G.P. Morris, & S. Kresovich. (2016). A Genomic Resource for the Development, Improvement, and Exploitation of Sorghum for Bioenergy. Genetics, 204(1), 21-33. doi:10.1534/genetics.115.183947

Boyles, R.E., B.K. Pfieffer, E.A Cooper, B.L. Rauh, K.J. Zielinski, M.T. Myers, Z. Brenton, W.L. Rooney, & S. Kresovich. (2016). Genetic Dissection of Sorghum Grain Quality Traits Using Diverse and Segregating Populations. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. doi: 10.1007/s00122-016-2844-6

Boyles, R., B.K. Pfieffer, E. Cooper, K. Zielinski, M.T. Myers, W. Rooney, S. Kresovich, (2017). Quantitative Trait Loci Mapping of Agronomic and Yield Traits in Two Grain Sorghum Biparental Families. Crop ScienceDOI: 10.2135/cropsci2016.12.0988