Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Mission Statement
headline bar

The mission of the U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Unit is to improve food crop security and nutritional quality through an interdisciplinary approach integrating molecular biology, molecular genetics, physiology, biochemistry, & microbiology with bioinformatics & genomics approaches.

The three major research themes are:

  1. Improving human health through investigations on nutrient and anti-nutrient movement through the soil-plant-animal/human food chain as well as the synthesis & accumulation of health promoting compounds in food crops.
  2. The dissection of complex traits in food crops in order to ultimately facilitate crop improvement in abiotic stress tolerance, mineral nutrition, and crop nutritional quality.
  3. The integration of computational biology and bioinformatics with moelcular biology/genetics to develop models that capture the static, kinematic & dynamic features of gene regulatory circuitry at the cellular level.

Some of the current research projects include:

  1. Developing food-based solutions to micronutrient malnutrition
  2. Developing crops better suited for cultivation on mineral depleted and metal-toxic soils
  3. The use of genomics-based approaches to improve the health promoting protperties of food crops
  4. Improving animal health & productivity through more efficient rumen fermentation
  5. Studying the plant pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae, as a model organism for the integration of research on computational and organismal biology. This research uses computational models to predict agriculturally important biological properties that can be tested and verified in the laboratory.

Last Modified: 3/23/2008