Department of Plant and Soil Science names new Bayer CropScience Chair
Benildo G. de los Reyes, an expert molecular geneticist, has been named professor of plant genomics and Bayer CropScience Chair with Texas Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science, according to officials within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. He officially stepped into his new research and teaching post on Jan. 1.
De los Reyes indicated that breeding the next generation of climate-resilient crops will have to rely on innovative research that could create novel plant attributes yet to be achieved by decades of molecular plant breeding and genetic engineering. Employing a genome-centered research paradigm on a tractable reference crop species such as rice, his laboratory is establishing the foundation for creating complex genomic and epigenomic configurations that could lead to novel stress physiological attributes.
"Specifically, we are elucidating the enigmatic phenomenon of transgressive segregation by interfacing the classical concepts of Mendelian genetics with the recent paradigm shifts in network biology and epigenetic regulation," he said. "Transgressive segregation is observed when recombinant progenies of two genetically divergent parents are either superior or inferior to both parents. We are addressing the hypothesis that positive transgressive stress-tolerance phenotypes are consequences of ideal shuffling and complementation effects between two divergent parental genomes and/or epigenomes, leading to network rewiring hence novel gene expression patterns."
De los Reyes' laboratory is currently investigating the mechanisms built upon the power of regulon restructuring, regulatory RNAs, and DNA methylation to understand the intricate processes by which novel gene expression patterns mediate transgression from parental phenotypes. The transformative knowledge uncovered by his current research on rice is being translated to other major crops of economic importance to the state of Texas including cotton and sorghum. His research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation-Plant Genome Research Program.
Prior to joining the Tech faculty, De los Reyes was a tenured faculty member at the University of Maine's School of Biology and Ecology, and Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, moving through the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor and professor of molecular genetics from 2004 to 2012. He also served as the school's associate director until his departure in December 2015 to join the faculty of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech.
Earlier he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University's Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, a graduate research associate at Oklahoma State University's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and a graduate research assistant at Pennsylvania State University's Department of Horticulture.
De los Reyes received his bachelor of science degree in biology with a concentration in genetics from the University of the Philippines-Los Banos. His master's degree in genetics and biochemistry was from the University of the Philippines-Los Banos and the International Rice Research Institute. He obtained his Ph.D. in plant science with concentration in cellular and molecular biology at Oklahoma State University.
He has received several awards including the International Collaborative Research Fellowship from the National Institute of Genetics in Japan (2011), the Balik Scientist Award from the Department of Science and Technology-Republic of the Philippines (2008), Graduate Research Excellence Award in Biological Science from Oklahoma State University (1999), Gerard Mott Meritorious Graduate Student Award from the Crop Science Society of America (1998), Outstanding Researcher in Rice Genetics from the International Rice Research Institute (1994), and Rice Genome Fellowship from Japan Rice Genome Program (1993). He is currently an associate editor of the international journal RICE.
CONTACT: Eric Hequet, Department Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or email@example.com
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