Welcome, Dr. Yu Ma!

Aug. 11, 2023
Headshot of Dr. Yu Ma with a gray background

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Yu Ma will be joining the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS) in August 2023 as an Assistant Professor of Plant Biology and Director of the Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center (OPGC) at The Ohio State University!

HCS Department Chair, Dr. Doug Karcher, summed up our collective excitement best: “Dr. Ma has an impressive record of high-impact publications and securing grants for research funding. She has a strong background in plant germplasm resources. She is passionate about teaching, is collaborative, and will be an overall great addition to the HCS faculty team. I’m thrilled that the OPGC will have a faculty director this August. That position has been vacant since I arrived as chair in August 2021, so I’m excited to watch the center move forward under Dr. Ma’s leadership.”

Currently, Dr. Ma is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Washington State University. Among her current research interests are: whole-genome sequencing data analysis; characterizing regulated high-protein genes; developing KASPar markers; targeting breeding with genomic selection; designing and conducting field and greenhouse experiments. Prior to joining the faculty, she held a postdoctoral research associate role within the same department at Washington State University.

Dr. Ma received her Ph.D. at Washington State University - her Dissertation focused on Enabling marker-assisted breeding in pea (Pisum sativum L.) (2016). Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Ma received her M.S. (Thesis: Development of SSR markers and construction of genetic linkage map in faba bean (Vicia faba L.)) from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (2012). Additionally, she received her B.S. (Biotechnology) from the Agricultural University of Hebei (2009).

Some core areas Dr. Ma plans to focus on at Ohio State

  • Research
    • Steering the overarching direction of the OPGC, with an emphasis on addressing the needs of the floriculture and nursery industries, associated scientific and breeding communities, germplasm acquisition, augmentation and preservation of genetic diversity within select species for future use benefitting humankind.
    • Building a research program with a focus on population genetics, seed biology, plant stress response, and ornamental plant breeding.
  • Teaching
    • Designing new relevant courses and leading several courses yearly to strengthen the core of the undergraduate and graduate student educational experience. 
  • Extension
    • Supporting programing that emphasizes the management of genetic resources for herbaceous ornamental plants.

Wow, that's quite a broad range of high-impact responsibilities & we could not be happier to bring Dr. Ma on board for this exciting task! Luckily, she had a minute to step away from the plants & sit down with us to give us a brief glimpse into her thoughts...

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