I received my PhD in Horticulture at the University of Illinois in 1984. I was a Post Doc in the Lab of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin from 1984 to 1987. I studied transposable elements in maize and was one of the first to demonstrate the relationship between DNA methylation and transposable element activity, an epigenetic phenomenon. I have remained fascinated by epigenetics ever since. I was a Research Geneticist with the USDA Ag Research Service from 1987 till 2017. The most notable activity of my career was the isolation of “low phytic acid” mutations in maize and other crops. This led to a continuing field of basic and applied research ranging from the biology of inositol phosphates to the breeding of nutritionally-enhanced “low phytic acid” crops, and also led to pioneering work addressing seed total phosphorus. My program included transfer of plant genetic resources (low phytic acid genotypes of maize, barley, rice, wheat, and soybean and mapping and sequence information) to a large number of public and private sector programs. Due to the substantial interest in the role of seed phytic acid in phosphorus use and management in livestock production and in human nutrition and health, my laboratory had been one of the programs most active in bridging the gap between crop science and human and animal nutrition. In the last half-decade of my work with the USDA-ARS I began a series of experiments exploring the epigenetic inheritance of stress response in maize and barley. When I retired from the USDA in December of 2017 I planned to remain active in science. From 2020 to the present has been one of my more active periods of publication, with six refereed journal articles and two commentaries/reviews. I currently have one research paper under review. To date I have published 98 refereed journal articles and patents and 43 other publications such as reviews, commentaries and opinion pieces.
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