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2013 Tomato Breeding and Genetics
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October 2008                 

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October 2007                 

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David M. Francis, PhD
My research program aims to understand the processes involved in plant disease resistance and fruit quality while contributing to the applied goal of developing tomato varieties adapted to a humid environment.  Genome sequence data, data-mining, and information sciences are playing an increasing role in how we develop new varieties.  My research program actively pursues novel and more efficient approaches for variety improvement that utilize genome sequence data.  Priorities for discovery and application include resistance to bacterial spot and bacterial canker and improvement of color, color uniformity, and nutritional quality in fruit.  Emphasis is placed on developing techniques for genetic mapping in breeding populations, characterizing the genetic determinants of nutritional quality in tomato fruit, understanding mechanisms of plant resistance to disease, and describing the effect of domestication on the evolutionary relationship within cultivated and wild germplasm.

PhD., Genetics, University of California, Davis.

B.A. Biology, Pomona College.   


Contact:  francis.77 'at'

Troy Aldrich
I have been working at the OARDC since 1985 with the tomato breeding program. I am in charge of field and greenhouse operations. My duties include all the processes between seed extraction, planting and harvesting. Field plots are located in Wooster, the Vegetable Crops Branch in Fremont, OH, and in growers fields throughout the Great Lakes region.

Contact:  aldrich.3 'at'

Matthew Robbins, PhD

Contact:  robbins.184 'at'

Sung-Chur Sim, PhD


Contact:  sim.16 'at'

Mohammed Masud

Visiting Scholar from Bangladesh


Contact:  masud.4 'at'

Pablo Asprelli

Visiting Scholar from Argentina


Contact:  pasprelli 'at'




Visiting Scholar from Macedonia

Contact:  ... 'at' ...



Former Graduate Students, Post-doctoral Researchers, & Visiting Scientists

Audrey Darrigues, PhD 2007
My research interests encompass plant breeding for quality traits and the implementation of molecular tools to improve the efficiency of selection.  My research project focuses on improving color in tomato.  It will be addressed by (i) QTL analysis for color and color uniformity in IBC populations, (ii) utilizing a newly developed tool, Tomato Analyzer, for digital phenotyping, and (iii) understanding the effect of yellow shoulder disorder (a blotchy ripening disorder) on the nutritional quality of tomato, as defined by its carotenoid content. 

M.S. Iowa State University, Plant Breeding
B.S. Iowa State University, Biology, Agronomy

Audrey Darrigues is currently in France...

Contact:  adarrigues 'at'


Mikel Stevens, PhD
Visiting scientist from Brigham Young University.


Contact:  mikel_stevens 'at'


Alba A. C. McIntyre, PhD
I have been working with the tomato group since 2001 on a project funded by USDA-IFAFS (see Managing Color Disorders) seeking to develop an integrated management system to improve quality and nutritional value while reducing color disorders of tomato. We are focusing on the role of soil  indicators such as exchangeable potassium, pH and organic matter as predictors to yellow shoulder disorders in the Midwest. We also intend to develop a predictive tool based on soil test to identify fields at risk for ripening disorders. Other research interests include the influence of tomato genotype on the intake and transport of potassium.


Ph.D. The Ohio State University. Major: Agronomy, Minor: Soil Science. 
M.Sc. Universidade Federal do Parana-Brasil. Major: Soil Science.

B.S. Universidade Estadual de Londrina-Brasil. Major: Agronomy.


Alba Clivati-McIntyre is currently an instructor at OSU - ATI.


Contact:  clivati-mcintyre.1 'at'




Wencai Yang, PhD
My research interest is application of molecular techniques in plant genetics and breeding.  Current research focuses on developing molecular markers and using them for marker-assisted selection in tomato disease resistance and color trait breeding including the following areas: (i) discovery, mapping and application of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in cultivated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum); (ii) pyramiding resistance to bacterial spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria) and bacterial speck (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato) with marker-assisted selection; (iii) mapping QTLs for resistance to bacterial spot using simple sequence repeat (SSR), cleaved amplified polymorphisms (CAP), SNP and other lab-developed molecular markers.

Wencai Yang is currently a faculty member at the China Agricultural University.


Contact:  yangwencai 'at'



Susana de Jesus, MS 2005
I am interested in plant secondary metabolites that can be used for medicinal purpose.  In my current research I am using classical and molecular-assisted approaches to address the following objectives: 1) Develop tomato lines with enhanced and altered content of carotenoids and flavonoids; 2) Create a database of tomato fruit carotenoids and flavonoids for use in the characterization of compounds that may be of medicinal and nutritional interest, 3) Determine the importance of isomeric structure on cyclization reactions in carotenoid biosynthesis, and 4) Apply this metabolic profiling database to evaluate the flavonoid content of "purple heirloom" tomatoes.


Susana De Jesus was a researcher at the Institute of Innovations in Biotechnology and Industry (IBBI), Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Dominican Republic.  She is currently in the Netherlands.


Contact: suchame2003 'at'



Gitta Coaker, PhD 2003
My research project focused on the genetic and biochemical characterization of resistance to bacterial canker of tomato.  Bacterial canker of tomato is a devastating disease caused by the gram positive bacterium, Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis (Cmm).  We have identified a source of resistance to Cmm in Lycopersicon hirsutum, a wild species of tomato.  I have accurately mapped two quantitative trait loci from L. hirsutum controlling disease resistance to Cmm and detected a complimentary epistatic interaction between both loci using multiple greenhouse and field populations.  I  investigated how both loci mediate resistance through proteome analysis of tomato lines infected with Cmm using the technique of two-dimensional protein electrophoresis coupled with tandem mass spectrometry for protein identification.  I  also investigated the proteome of Cmm and future research projects include the identification of Cmm proteins expressed in planta.

B.S. University of Arizona.  Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Minors: physics, chemistry, math, french


Gitta Coaker is currently a faculty member at University of California - Davis.


Contact: glcoaker 'at'




Eileen Kabelka, PhD 2001

Eileen’s research at OSU focused on simultaneous introgression and QTL discovery.  She characterized an Inbred Backcross Population derived from L. hirsutum LA 407 (“stinky”) and processing tomato breeding lines.  Eileen discovered two QTL for bacterial canker resistance in this population. Eileen is currently an Assistant Professor of Horticultural Sciences at the University of Florida. Her goal is to improve cucurbits through breeding and genetics. This research, through the use of both traditional and molecular breeding methods, will result in cucurbit breeding material, genetic maps and markers that will be of direct use to public and private breeding programs and the scientific community.


M.S., Michigan State University, 1996, Horticulture;

B.S., Michigan State University, 1994, Horticulture.

Eileen Kabelka is currently a faculty member of University of Florida

Contact: ekabelka 'at'


Previous Lab group photos
August 2007
August 2006
August 2005

Francis Lab Photo Gallery