My research concentrates on interactions between plants and beneficial bacterial endophytes. Shown to promote plant growth and health, endophytes have the potential to boost agricultural production naturally. Specifically, my interests focus on utilizing free-living, atmospheric nitrogen fixing bacteria as well as bacteria which lower the levels of plant stress hormones, to increase plant yield on marginal land. To test the potential of these interactions, we are also developing a system which utilizes robotics to measure plant growth and stress in a controlled environment.
I also have an interest in improving K-12 education by integrating scientific research into the classroom through outreach. Together my research supports the mandate of IALR, to initiate projects with potential economic and educational benefits for Southern Virginia.