Tamara I. Miller, Ph.D.

Tamara I. Miller

Position Title
Paul Gepts Lab

  • Plant Sciences

Small grains/Agronomy: Common bean

Keywords: Breeding, Genetics, Disease Resistance, Crop Evolution

My current work is focused on understanding how genetic variation in common bean influences plant resistance to Angular Leaf Spot, a pathogen that causes large economic losses in tropical and subtropical growing regions. By applying quantitative genetic mapping strategies, genomics/transcriptomics, and gene silencing via Virus-Induced Gene Silencing, I am generating predictions about which genes in the common bean primary gene pool cause race-specific resistance to Angular Leaf Spot. Furthermore, I am working with the African Bean Consortium (ABC) to genetically characterize the pathogen population in ABC target agro-ecologies. This work will contribute to a greater understanding of which genes in common bean are most effective for controlling the spread of the pathogen and the development of molecular markers that can be used in breeding.

The work I did as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley (Lemaux Lab) sought to take a biotechnological approach to improve sorghum grain digestibility by over-expression of a key redox regulating protein, Thioredoxin h. My past work led me to pursue applied agronomic research as a means to contribute to improving crop production and by extension, human health. In the future I would like to continue working as a crop breeder, applying quantitative genetic principles to improve multiple plant traits.