Cotton Incorporated started the fellowship program two years ago to encourage more scientists to enter the field of cotton breeding and help ensure a long-term supply of new cotton breeders.

“We are not only pleased for Dr. Johnson, we are gratified to know the Program works as intended,” said Roy Cantrell, vice president, agricultural research, Cotton Incorporated. Johnson will be a research geneticist working on improving yield and fiber quality in future cotton varieties with veteran cotton breeder/geneticist Bill Meredith.

“I owe so much to Cotton Incorporated,” Johnson said. “My interest in breeding and genetics could have taken me into a variety of career options related to a number of crops, but after speaking with Dr. Cantrell and his staff, my decision was made to participate in this groundbreaking program for cotton.”

Research areas within Cotton Incorporated’s Fellowship Program encompass germplasm development and improvement, enhanced evaluation of cotton breeding material for fiber quality and stability, and expanding DNA marker development and application.

Successful fellows must have a strong academic background in plant breeding, plant genetics, plant molecular biology, agronomy or related discipline. An integral part of Cotton Incorporated’s Breeding & Genetics Initiative places Fellows at the core of ongoing cooperative research projects at public institutions throughout the Cotton Belt.

Eight Cotton Incorporated Fellows (CIF) are currently in place. “We’ve signed on two post-doctorial and six Ph.D. graduate students,” says Cantrell. Their names, schools and a brief summary of their assigned research projects are given below.

Hamidou Sakhanokho – (post doctorial) University of Georgia – “Broadening Germplasm Base for Tissue Culture Regeneration in Cotton”

Doug Hinchliffe – (post doctorial) New Mexico State University – “Genetic Enhancement of Nematode Resistance In Acala Cotton”

Bill Hendrix – (graduate student) University of Arkansas – “Wide Hybridization and Transferring Genes from Wide Crosses”

Brenda Lauterbach – (graduate student) Mississippi State University – “Developing Germplasm with Improved Stability for Quality and Yield”

Brooks Blanche – (graduate student) Louisiana State University – “Developing Germplasm with Improved Stability for Quality and Yield”

Chris Braden – (graduate student) Texas A&M University – “Pyramiding Genes for Fiber Quality in Elite Germplasm”

Brian Gardunia – (graduate student) Texas A&M University – “Introgressing Genes from Wild Species to Increase Cotton Genetic Diversity”

Michael Palmer – (graduate student) Clemson University – “High Throughput DNA Marker Development in Cotton”

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