Vijay JoshiVijay Joshi, Project Director, is Associate Professor of Systems Plant Physiologt in the Department of Horticulture at Texas A&M University. His program focuses on plant biology and its integrations with micro and macro environments, utilizing physiological, molecular, or metabolic traits to understand associated biological processes, with the goal of developing crop varieties with enhanced crop productivity, nutritional qualities and tolerance to abiotic stresses for greater adaptability.


Ainong ShiAinong Shi is an Associate Professor and Vegetable Breeder at the University of Arkansas Department of Horticulture. His lab is focused on plant breeding and genetics in vegetable crops such as arugula, cowpea, and spinach for cultivars and germplasm development and release. They conduct genetic mapping and genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify SNP markers associated with major genes and QTL of agronomic, abiotic and biotic traits in arugula, cowpea and beans, spinach and tomato using 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing such as whole genome sequencing and resequencing (WGS, WGR), ddRADseq and GBS.


Micaela ColleyMicaela Colley is the Program Director at the Organic Seed Alliance. She leads OSA’s research and education programs focused on organic seed production and organic plant breeding. SMicaela frequently teaches and speaks on organic seed topics and collaborates on research projects nationally. Micaela also completed her PhD focused on organic and participatory plant breeding under Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.


Gahendra BhatteraiGahendra Bhatterai is a Post-doctoral Researcher in the Vegetable Breeding Program at the University of Arkansas. His graduate studies at the Oregon State University and the University of Arkansas mostly involved exploring the genetic mechanism of biotic and abiotic stress tolerances in tree fruit and vegetable crops. His research  interests include breeding plants and generating new molecular tools and genomic resources to understand the genetic regulation of traits, applying these new genomic tools to improve the selection process, and facilitating the development of improved cultivars.



Benedict AnalinBenedict Analin is a postdoctoral research associate in the System Plant Physiology program at the Joshi Lab at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Uvalde, TX. His research interests include photosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism, and abiotic stress. His focus in this project is identifying natural variation in photosynthesis among USDA organic Spinach genotypes and identifying genetic regulators responsible for higher photosynthesis through genome-wide association studies. He is also exploring physiological, molecular, and metabolic mechanisms/approaches to improve nitrogen use efficiency in organic spinach.


Dhivya ThenappanDhivya Thenappan is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Systems Plant Physiology Program at Joshi Lab at Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Uvalde, TX. Her research interests include plant-microbe interactions. Her Ph.D. studies at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute centered on genome-based studies of rice-actinobacteria interactions that lighten the intricate relationships between rice plants and beneficial actinobacteria for improved agricultural sustainability. Her research at Texas A&M University employs cutting-edge techniques in microbiome analysis, including metagenomics (amplicon sequencing, shotgun) and metatranscriptomics, to decipher the complex microbial communities in vegetable crops to foster eco-friendly and sustainable crop production.


Dalton ThompsonDalton Thompson is a technician for the Plant Physiology Department of Horticulture at Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Working with Dr. Vijay Joshi, his focus is growing and maintaining various crops to collect samples and data for analysis. The goal is to simulate crop fields similar to growers for the most accurate measurements. Dalton will work on organizing organic field experiments, phenotyping, metabolite analysis, and sampling for metagenomic analysis.



Alice FormigaAlice Formiga is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Oregon State University and the director of eOrganic, which publishes information on organic farming and research at