120 Plant Science
I have an appointment of research and extension in nutrition physiology and stress physiology of deciduous fruit crops (apples and grapes in particular). The goal of my reasearch and extension programs is to better understand the physiological processes underlying nutrition and environmental stresses and extend this knowledge to fruit growers for improving productivity and fruit quality. I am also involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching.
The interaction between carbon and nitrogen dominates the primary metabolism in plants, and therefore elucidating this interaction is critical for understanding the physiology of the whole plant. We are currently focused on how nitrogen supply affects carbon metabolism and nitrogen metabolism in both apples and grapes. Pome and stone fruits of the Rosaceae family, such as apple and cherry, are unique in that sorbitol serves as a primary end-product of photosynthesis and a major translocated carbohydrate in the phloem. Sorbitol is also implicated in responses to environmental stresses. We are using apple trees with decreased sorbitol synthesis to understand the role sorbitol plays in carbohydrate metabolism, organic acid metabolism and nitrogen metabolism, and stress tolerance. We are very interested in both primary metabolism and secondary metabolism relevant to fruit quality during fruit growth and development as well as their responses to nutrient stress and other environmental stresses. On the more applied side, our research addresses uptake, translocation, storage, and remobilization and demand-supply relationship of nitrogen and other nutrients in apples and grapevines to provide basis for optimizing nutrient inputs into both apple orchards and vineyards.
The goal of my extension program is to effectively deliver research-based, up to date information and provide expertise concerning nutrient management to the apple and grape industries in New York through collaborations with faculty, extension educators, and growers. Extension is a two-way communication. On one direction, we deliver information to growers after learning their needs. On the other direction, growers provide feedbacks on our extension programs and communicate their needs for applied research and extension, which make our work more relevant and effective. My extension activities are closely tied with my applied research. The current foci are 1) management of nitrogen and other essential nutrients to improve yield and quality of high density apple plantings; 2) nitrogen management to improve the productivity of juice grapes and yeast available nitrogen levels in winegrape musts.
My goal in teaching and advising is to train students so that they develop to realize their academic potential, resulting in not only getting a degree from Cornell, but more importantly becoming a “thinker” and a “doer” in the field of horticultural sciences. My teaching has been largely in mineral nutrition of fruit crops and advanced analytical techniques in plant science.