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Diane Beckles

Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences

Research Statement:

My research program is AES-mission oriented and centers on understanding the synthesis, degradation and inter-conversion of starch and sugars in plants. Plant sugars and starch provide humans with food, feed, fuel and biomaterials, and quantitatively, are the most important parameter determining fruit postharvest and grain nutritive quality. Our research, therefore, has the potential to address fundamental questions related to global food security and environmental sustainability. Our approach is by necessity multidisciplinary and includes biochemistry, molecular biology, transcriptomics, metabolomics, physiology as well as applied physics and chemistry. The primary crops we study are tomato and wheat, which are of immense economic value.

We have three primary aims:

    1. To identify what determines tomato postharvest fruit sugar content.
    2. To understand starch and protein biosynthesis in wheat grain, and
    3. To investigate and engineer starch crystalline structure.

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