MCI Lab People

Program Leader

Tom Ranney

Dr. Thomas G. Ranney, Professor

Area of specialization: Plant breeding, new crop development, and daydreaming. Enjoys horticulture, photography, traveling, and hiking.

Email: tom_ranney@ncsu.edu
Web Site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/mcilab/ranney/

Research Associates

Darren Touchell

Dr. Darren H. Touchell

Area of specialization: Plant tissue culture, micropropagation, plant breeding, molecular
biology, bioenergy crops. Coordinates tissue culture lab and associated activities.

Email: darren_touchell@ncsu.edu
Web Site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/mcilab/people/dtouchell/

Research Specialists

Tom Eaker in greenhouse

Tom Eaker, Senior Research Specialist

Area of specialization: Plant breeding, field production, special projects, and overall
jack-of-all-trades. Master chef.

Email: tom_eaker@ncsu.edu
Web Site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/mcilab/people/teaker/

Joel Mowrey

Joel Mowrey, Research Specialist

Area of specialization: Propagation, plant breeding, plant materials, greenhouse and
container plant production. Purveyor of great plants and world-renowned hot sauce. Check out: http://www.smokingjsfieryfoods.com/.

Email: joel_mowrey@ncsu.edu
Web Site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/mcilab/people/jamowrey/

Nathan Lynch

Nathan Lynch, Research Specialist

Area of specialization: Horticulture, plant breeding, cytogenetics, databases, technology
applications, engineering, and laboratory manager. Sailor, hiker, biker, and all-around
Renaissance man.

Email:
Web Site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/mcilab/people/nlynch/

Andra Nus

Andra Nus, Research Assistant

Area of specialization: Horticulture, plant breeding, tissue culture. Interests in collections management and garden design. Plant geek, runner, world traveler and mom of three boys and two llamas.

Email: tadnus@yahoo.com
Web Site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/mcilab/people/andranus/

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Current Graduate Students

Will Hembree

Will Hembree, M.S. Student

Projects: Breeding and cytogenetics of Camellia and related genera.

Email: will.hembree@gmail.com

Nate Maren

Nate Maren, Ph.D. Student

Projects: Production, breeding, and gene editing of cold-hardy sugar canes.

Manuscripts:

  • Maren, N.A. 2016. Symmetric Protoplast Fusion in Interserial Syringa (Oleaceae) Hybridization. MS Horticulture & Forestry, North Dakota State University

Email: namaren@ncsu.edu

Social media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathan-maren-56407612

Staff at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station

  Exceptional support, for basic horticultural practices, is provided by the staff at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station: http://www.ncagr.gov/research/mhcrs.htm. A million thanks.

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Alumni

 

Former Graduate Students

David L. Curtis
1995. M.S.

Thesis: Rooting and subsequent overwintering survival of stem cuttings of Stewartia ovata.

Manuscript: Curtis, D.L., T.G. Ranney, F.A. Blazich, and E. P. Whitman II. 1996. Rooting and subsequent overwinter survival of stem cuttings of Stewartia ovata. J. Environ. Hort. 14:163-166.

Patrick J. McGuigan
1995. M.S.

Thesis: Micropropagation of Stewartia pseudocamellia and propagation of selected species of Quercus by stem cuttings.

Manuscripts:

Hunter L. Stubbs
1996. M.S.

Thesis: Propagation by stem cuttings and nitrogen nutrition of containerized Cupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Carolina Sapphire'.

Manuscripts:

Clifford Ruth
1996. M.Ag.

Project: Differential tolerance of holly taxa to flooding and poor drainage.

Report: Ruth, C.D., T.G. Ranney, and E.P. Whitman, II. 1995. Flood tolerant hollies: Qualifiers for quagmires. Proc. SNA Res. Conf., 40th Annu. Rpt. p. 77-80.

Cindy A. Patton
1997. M.S.

Thesis: Host plant resistance to Japanese beetles: Role of endogenous allelochemicals in plant defense.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 2nd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 1996.

Amy F. Fulcher
1997. M.S.

Thesis: Host plant resistance among Malus taxa to Japanese beetle, European red mite, and two spotted spider mite.

Manuscript: Fulcher, A.F., T.G. Ranney, J.D. Burton, J.F. Walgenbach, and D.A. Danehower. 1998. Role of foliar phenolics in host plant resistance of Malus taxa to adult Japanese beetles. HortScience 33:862-865.

Awards: 3rd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 1997.

J. Dale Witt
1998. M.S.

Thesis: Biorational plant protectants for controlling adult Japanese beetles.

Manuscript: Witt, J.D., S.L. Warren, T.G. Ranney, and J.R. Baker. 1999. Biorational and conventional plant protectants reduce feeding by adult Japanese beetles. J. Environ. Hort. 17(4):203-206.

Jason J. Griffin
1999. M.S.

Thesis: Vegetative propagation and culture of Thuja 'Green Giant', Magnolia virginiana 'Santa Rosa', and Quercus phillyraeoides 'Emerald Sentinel'.

Manuscripts:

Bradley T. Holland
2002. M. Hort.

Project: Evaluating recovery of Cupressaceae taxa after flooding at contrasting temperatures.

Manuscript: Holland, B.T., S.L. Warren, and T.G. Ranney. 2003. Evaluating recovery of Cupressaceae taxa after flooding at contrasting temperatures. J. Environ. Hort. 21(1):51-55.

Jason J. Griffin
2002. Ph.D.

Dissertation: Interactive effects of environmental stresses on photosynthesis.

Manuscripts:

Andrew C. Bell
2004. Ph.D.

Dissertation: Host plant resistance to fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) in the Rosaceae subfamily Maloideae.

Manuscript: Bell, A.C., T.G. Ranney, T.A. Eaker, and T.B. Sutton. 2005. Resistance to fire blight among flowering pears and quince. HortScience 40(2):413-415.

Awards: 2nd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Ph.D., 2002; 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Ph.D., 2000.

Richard T. Olsen
2006. Ph.D.

Dissertation: Utilizing polyploidy for developing improved nursery crops.

Manuscripts:

Awards: ASHS, Krezdorn Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research and Writing, 2007; 1st Place, ASHS Warren S. Barham Ph.D. Graduate Student Paper, 2005; 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Ph.D., 2005; 1st Place, Southern Region IPPS, Student Research Competition, 2005; 3rd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Ph.D., 2003.

Ryan N. Contreras
2006. M.S.

Thesis: Azaleodendrons: Investigating parentage, fertility, and effects of polyploidy among hybrids of deciduous azaleas and evergreen rhododendrons.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2006; 1st Place, ASHS Southern Region Norman F. Childers, M.S., Research Competition, 2006.

Elisabeth M. Meyer
2009. M.S.

Thesis. Evaluation, propagation, and improvement of Gordoniae trees and an interspecific Hypericum hybrid.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 3rd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2008; 1st place. SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2009.

Jeff R. Jones
2008. M.S.

Thesis: Investigating prevalence, induction, and fertility of polyploid Rhododendron L. and the development of protocols for vegetative propagation.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2007; 2nd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2008.

Clara E. Trueblood
2009. M.S.

Thesis: An invasive species assessment system for the North Carolina horticultural industry.

Manuscript: Trueblood, C.E., T.G. Ranney, N.P. Lynch, J.C. Neal, and R.T. Olsen. 2010. Evaluating fertility of triploid clones of Hypericum androsaemum L. for use as non-invasive landscape plants. HortScience 45(7):1026-1028.

Awards: 1st place. Southern Weed Sci. Soc. Annual meeting, M.S. student presentation, 2009.

 

Todd Rounsaville
2011 M.S.

Todd Rounsaville

Thesis: Cytogenetics, Micropropagation, and Reproductive Biology of Berberis, Mahonia, and Miscanthus.

Manuscripts:

Kelly Oates
2011 M.S.

Kelly Oates

Thesis: Genetic Improvement of Rudbeckia and Evaluation of a New Triploid Campsis Cultivar.

Manuscripts:

Awards: First Place, ASHS Southern Region Norman F. Childers, M.S., Graduate Student Research Competition, 2011. NCSU Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, 2011.

Kevin Parris
2011 M.S.

Kevin up a tree

Research: Micropropagation and cytogenetics of Magnolia.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 1st place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2009; 1st place, SNA Research Conference, M.S., 2010.

Jason Lattier
2012 M.S.

Jason Lattier

Thesis: Cytogenetics, micropropagation, and polyploid induction of selected nursery crops.

Manuscripts:

Awards: Martin F. McLaren Scholar, 2009-2010; Syngenta Glenn Goldsmith Breeding Excellence Scholarship, 2011; Horticultural Research Institute Spring Meadow Nursery Scholarship, 2011; 2nd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2012; First place, SR ASHS Norman F. Childers MS Student Competition, 2012.

Blog: jasondlattier.blogspot.com
Email: jdlattier@gmail.com

Irene Palmer
2013 M.S.

Irene Palmer

Thesis: Breeding and Evaluation of Perennial Grasses for Landscape and Bioenergy Applications.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 3rd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Undergraduate, 2007; 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Undergraduate, 2008; 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2012; Syngenta Glenn Goldsmith Breeding Excellence Scholarship, 2012.

Blog: http://www.sikokianum.blogspot.com

Dominic Gillooly
2016 M.S.

Dominic Gillooly

Thesis: Genome Sizes and Ploidy Levels in the Genus Kalmia and In Vitro Polyploid Induction of Ophiopogon planiscapus.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 2nd Place, SR-ASHS Norman F. Childers, M.S., Research Competition, 2014; 2nd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, M.S., 2015.

Email: domgillooly@gmail.com

Whitney Phillips
2016 M.S.

Whitney Phillips

Thesis: Reproductive Biology, Tissue Culture, and Taxonomy of Selected Nursery Crops.

Manuscripts:

Email: wdphilli@ncsu.edu

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Former Interns

Jon Roethling
2006

Jon Roethling

Project: Breeding new nursery crops.

Current Position: Horticulturist, High Point University.

Irene Palmer
2007-2010

Irene Palmer with Rudbeckia

Project: Crossability, cytogentetics, and reproductive pathways in Rudbeckia subgenus Rudbeckia.

Manuscripts: Palmer, I.E., T.G. Ranney, N.P. Lynch, and R.E. Bir. 2009. Crossability, cytogenetics, and reproductive pathways in Rudbeckia subgenus Rudbeckia. HortScience 44(1):44-48.

Awards: 3rd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Undergraduate, 2007; 1st Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Undergraduate, 2008

Current Position: Completed a MS program in plant breeding at NC State University. Currently a plant breeder at Garden Genetics, PA.

Jason Lattier
2009

Jason Lattier squashing chromosomes

Project: In vitro regeneration and polyploid induction of Acer platanoides ‘Crimson Sentry’.

Manuscripts: Lattier, J.D., D.H. Touchell, T.G. Ranney, and Jeremy Smith. 2013. In vitro regeneration and polyploid induction of Acer platanoides L. ‘Crimson Sentry’. J. Environ. Hort. 31(4):246-252.

Awards: Martin F. McLaren Scholar, 2009-2010

Current Position: Continued on to complete an MS program in plant breeding at NC State. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. program at Oregon State.

Kim Shearer
2011-2013

Kim Shearer over a stream

Projects: 1) Interspecific and interploid hybridization among sympatric azaleas in the southern Appalachian Mountains. 2) Ploidy levels and relative genome sizes of species, hybrids, and cultivars or dogwood.

Manuscripts:

Awards: 2nd Place, SNA Student Research Conference, Undergraduate, 2013. Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship, NSF-EDEN Research Award, and W. Scott and Mary Dell Chilton Award, 2013.

Current Position: MS program at Oregon State University.

David Roberts
2012

David Roberts Meditating

Projects: Ploidy manipulation of interspecific dogwood hybrids

Awards: Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship, 2013.

Current Position: Completed MS program at NC State University. Now, is the general manager and breeder for Plant Introductions, Inc with Bailey Nurseries

Dominic Gillooly
2013

Dominic Gillooly pollinating Kalmia

Project: Survey of ploidy levels and relative genome sizes in Kalmia sp.

Current Position: Completed MS in horticulture at NC State University. Now, is a research specialist at NC State working with Dr. Craig Yencho.

Winston Beck
2013

Winston Beck tending a hose

Projects: Ploidy Levels and interploid hybridization in panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata).

Manuscripts: Beck, W.T. and T.G. Ranney. 2014. Ploidy levels and interploid hybridization in panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata). SNA Res. Conf., 59th Annu. Rpt. 59:296-300.

Awards: Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship, 2013.

Current Position: Horticulturist at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Will Hembree
2014

Will Hembree

Project: Determing ploidy and relative genome sizes in Deutzia spp..

Current Position: Completed a BS at University of Georgia and the Mclaren Fellowship with the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Program. Currently, a MS student at NC State University.

Laura Kaderabek
2014

Laura Kaderabek

Project: Influence of induced polyploidy on fertility and morphology of Hydrangea macrophylla.

Current Position: MS program in horticulture at NC State University.

Connor Ryan
2015

Connor Ryan

Project: Breeding and cytogenetics of Illicium.

Current Position: Completing a MS in horticulture at the University of Georgia.

Tracy Thomasson
2015

Tracy Thomasson

Project: Breeding and cytogenetics of Aucuba.

Current Position: Completing a BS in horticulture at NC State University.

Lauren Deans
2016

Lauren Deans

Project: Interspecific hybridization and ovule culture in Hydrangea.

Current Position: Completing a BS in horticulture at NC State University.

Kristen Neill
2016

Kristin Neill

Project: Breeding cold-hardy pomegranates for the landscape.

Current Position: Completing a BS in horticulture at NC State University.

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Other Former Advisees

Mark C. Starrett
1992. M.S.

Thesis: Sexual propagation and micropropagation of Pieris floribunda (mountain andromeda) and initial growth of seedlings of Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron) as influenced by day/night temperature. Under the direction of Drs. Stuart L. Warren and Frank A. Blazich. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Mack Thetford
1993. Ph.D.

Dissertation: Effects of uniconazole on morphological, anatomical, and physiological development of Forsythia x intermedia 'Spectabilis'. Under the direction of Drs. Stuart L. Warren and Frank A. Blazich. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Mark C. Starrett
1996. Ph.D.

Dissertation. Isolation, storage, and use of ericoid mycorrhizal fungi for improved acclimatization and subsequent growth of micropropagated Pieris floribunda. Under the direction of Dr. F. A. Blazich. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Laura G. Jull
1998. Ph.D.

Dissertation: Seed germination, seedling growth, and heat tolerance of Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides). Under the direction of Dr. F. A. Blazich. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Related Manuscript: Jull, L.G., T.G. Ranney, and F.A. Blazich. 1999. Heat tolerance of selected provenances of Atlantic white cedar. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 124:492-497.

Amy N. Wright
2002. Ph.D.

Dissertation: The physiology of landscape establishment of Kalmia latifolia. Under the direction of Drs. Stuart L. Warren and Frank A. Blazich. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

F. Todd Lasseigne
2004. Ph.D.

Dissertation: Physiological responses of selected taxa of Salvia, Taxus, Cephalotaxus, and Syringa to heat and/or flooding. Under the direction of Drs. Stuart L. Warren and Frank A. Blazich. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Related Manuscripts: Lasseigne, F.T., S.L. Warren, F.A. Blazich, and T.G. Ranney. 2007. Day/Night temperature influences growth and photosynthesis of cultivated Salvia taxa. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 132(4):492-500.

Jeffrey A. Adkins
2005, Ph.D.

Dissertation: Characterization and expression of FLORICAULA/LEAFY homologues in Buddleja davidii.
Under the direction of Dr. Dennis Werner. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Jessica G. Barb
2007, Ph.D.

Dissertation: Biochemical, Genetic, and Cytogenetic Studies of Stokesia laevis (Stokes Aster). Under the direction of Dr. Dennis Werner. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Cary J. Hebret
2010, M.S.

Thesis: Seed Germination of Five Populations of Rhododendron vaseyi, Ploidy Manipulation of Rhododendron 'Fragrantissimum Improved' and the Effects of S-ABA on the Physiology and Marketability of Various Container-Grown Taxa During Short-Term Desiccation. Under the direction of Dr. Anthony V. LeBude. Thomas G. Ranney, committee member.

Related Manuscript: Hebret, C.J., D.H. Touchell, T.G. Ranney, and A.V. LeBude. 2010. In vitro shoot regeneration and polyploidy induction of Rhododendron 'Fragrantissimum Improved'. HortScience 45(4):801-80

Former Research Associate

Dr. Zenaida Viloria

Area of specialization: Plant tissue culture, plant breeding and genetics.

Manuscript: Olsen, R.T., T.G. Ranney, and Z. Viloria. 2006. Reproductive behavior of induced allotetraploid x Chitalpa and in vitro embryo culture of polyploidy progeny. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 131(6):716-724.

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Updated January 28, 2016