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Department News

Precision Control: Engineering a Multi-Partition Growth Chamber

When traditional growth chambers can't quite cut it, you've got to be ready to get your hands dirty. Researcher Calvin Peters engineered specialized multi-partition growth chambers that can control almost any aspect of a plant’s environment—allowing for more precise measurements and better-controlled experiments than with traditional growth chambers.

3rd Floor Lobby Redesign

Thank you to everyone who donated to our crowd funding campaign to renovate the lobby last December. Thanks to all our alumni, staff, faculty, and even current students we raised nearly $30,000 towards the lobby. A special thank you goes to Emily Hoover, Jim Luby, and Neil Anderson, who matched the donations from the crowd funding campaign.

Saving the Eastern Hemlock

For the last three years, Emily Ellingson (Applied Plant Sciences, M.S.) has spent her days studying and growing a single type of tree: the eastern hemlock. Ellingson, who is advised by Stan Hokanson and Jim Bradeen, is utilizing microsatellite markers to determine genetic diversity within Minnesota’s native eastern hemlock population in the hopes of improving conservation efforts for the tree.

It costs as much as $140 million for Monsanto to release a new genetically modified crop, and from start to finish Angela Hendrickson Culler (Ph.D. Plant Biological Sciences ’07) ensures that crop is safe for people, animals, and the environment. Culler is the lead for Monsanto’s U.S. Biotech Regulatory Affairs department and was recently named one of the Saint Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to their businesses and community. She manages a team of 25 people and is responsible for obtaining and maintaining global regulatory approvals for a $10 billion product portfolio.

Since its release in 1991, Honeycrisp has been harboring a secret: its parents are a mystery. Originally billed as the child of Macoun and Honeygold, researchers quickly discovered that neither of these varieties were the parents of Minnesota’s favorite apple. Now, 26 years after its introduction, graduate student Nick Howard (Applied Plant Sciences, Ph.D.) has finally uncovered Honeycrisp’s true lineage.

The third floor atrium is a hub of activity for Alderman Hall. This area is a popular spot to study, hold impromptu meetings, eat lunch, or wait for classes to begin — but it is sorely in need of updates and a redesign. Your support can help us create a more welcoming and functional space for building users. Our vision includes an expanded seating area and a flexible design to allow for a variety of uses.

Gifts up to $10,000 will be matched—doubling your impact. Give today!

Bailey Nurseries, a fifth-generation family-owned company, has been involved with the department for decades. They have provided plants for the display garden, scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students, and supported conferences hosted on campus. On October 6, the Bailey family was invited to campus to thank them for their myriad of contributions.

Science does not happen at the University of Minnesota without support from intersecting industries. This support can take many forms, such as directly working with a company to release a new variety of plant into the market, or the industry lobbying to get public funding for a research area. Other times these relationships are more tangential, formed when the research experience at the University compliments the needs of an organization that may or may not have plants as its end product.

The greenhouse at North Community High School is a small space, just big enough to fit the 10 students in Mr. Vreeland’s 11th and 12th grade science class. Five years ago this space was just one more unused room in a school facing the cutting block. Today it is the apex of an initiative around youth development and urban agriculture in North Minneapolis, led by the University of Minnesota, social justice non-profit organization Project Sweetie Pie, and North High.

When Royal Heins was first starting graduate school, he made a decisive promise to himself that he would continue to be an active part of the floriculture industry until the very last day of his career. This spring he will receive the inaugural Horticultural Science Distinguished Alumnus Award for his accomplishments and present as part of HortSci Grows.

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Have a Story?

We’re always looking for new stories to include in our alumni newsletter. If you’re a current member of the department or an alumnus and you’re doing something interesting, tell us about it by emailing Echo Martin at mart1794@umn.edu