AMARILLO — Dr. Shuyu Liu, formerly a research scientist at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., is now the small grains geneticist for Texas AgriLife Research in Amarillo.
Liu joined the Amarillo faculty as an assistant professor on Aug. 1.
“We welcome Dr. Liu to our AgriLife Research and Extension wheat improvement team for the High Plains and Rolling Plains Center of Excellence,” said Dr. John Sweeten, AgriLife Research resident director in Amarillo. “He will be instrumental in helping us fulfill a major component of the statewide small-grains strategic plan which targets wheat breeding and genetics as one of seven objectives.”
Liu spent the past three years at Virginia Tech working on breeding and genetic studies for resistance to Fusarium head blight, powdery mildew, rust and net blotch in wheat and barley, using conventional and genomics technologies.
At Amarillo, he will concentrate on the genetic and genomic studies of wheat traits important to the Great Plains region. Some of those traits include: drought and heat tolerance; resistance to diseases such as leaf, stem and stripe rust and wheat streak mosaic virus; and insects such as greenbug, Russian wheat aphid and Hessian fly, as well as good end-use quality of the grain.
Liu’s genetic research will be closely coordinated with the traditional wheat-breeding research and development of new wheat varieties, Sweeten said.
Both traditional and molecular breeding techniques will be used to develop germplasm lines with one or more target traits, Liu said. He also will use genomic techniques such as gene mapping, target molecular marker identification, validation and utilization, gene cloning and gene functional analysis to understand and improve those target traits.
From 1988 to 1996, Liu was a wheat breeder with the Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Jinan, Shandong, China. He conducted wheat genetics and breeding studies on yield, disease resistance, drought tolerance and quality.
Liu earned his doctorate in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Mo.; his master’s degree from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.; and his bachelor’s degree from Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, China.