Members

Dr. Susana Milla-Lewis
Associate Professor and University Faculty Scholar

Susana is originally from Lima, Peru. She graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Lima, Peru) in 1995. She obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant breeding and genetics from North Carolina State University in 1998 and 2003, respectively. Her main research interests are in germplasm characterization and development of breeding populations, and the utilization of new technologies in association with conventional breeding methods for turfgrass improvement.

Susana is married to another public breeder and has two young daughters. Her hobbies include traveling (especially to her beloved Peru), cooking, and enjoying her favorite microbrews.

Contact Information:

susana_milla-lewis@ncsu.edu
919-515-3196
1126B Williams Hall

Research Gate Profile


Xingwang Yu
Research Associate

Xingwang is originally from Shandong, China. He graduated with a B.S degree in Plant Science & Technology at Hunan Agricultural University (Changsha, China). He got his Ph.D. degree in Plant Genetics from Nanjing Agricultural University (Nanjing, China) in 2015. He moved to North Carolina and joined our program in 2016.

Xingwang’s current research emphasis are on understanding the genetic and molecular basis of growth, abiotic and biotic stress tolerance in warm-season turfgrasses, including QTL and association analysis, gene and protein identification, and development of maker assisted selection (MAS).

Xingwang is married to a excellent scientist. He likes playing soccer and has always been a faithful fan to his hometown soccer team-Shandong Luneng.

Contact Information:

xyu15@ncsu.edu
919-515-0324
1130 Williams Hall


Esdras M. Carbajal
Research Technician

Esdras is originally from Yorito-Yoro, Honduras. He got a B.S. in natural resources from the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura (Olancho, Honduras). Esdras started with the program in 2010 as an international scholar. He got an M.S. degree from NC State University in 2017 working on the use of colchicine to manipulate ploidy levels in St. Augustinegrass.

Esdras manages all field and greenhouse aspects of the program as well as the St. Augustinegrass crossing program.

Esdras and his wife Alyssa enjoy spending time with their two pet bearded dragons, Rita and Big Mama. Esdras loves food (especially sugar!) and his hobbies are Zumba, hiking and swimming.

Contact Information:

emcarbaj@ncsu.edu
919-515-0324
1203 Williams Hall


Rocio van der Laat
Research Specialist

Rocio is originally from San Jose, Costa Rica. SheΒ joined the program as a Research Assistant in 2017.Β Rocio got a B.S. in Agronomy from the Universidad de Costa Rica, and a B.S. in Entomology and a M.S. in Crop Production and Physiology, both from Iowa State University.

Rocio currently manages our efforts in breeding for chinch bug resistance in St. Augustinegrass.

She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and traveling.

Contact Information
rvander@ncsu.edu
919-515-0324
1130 Williams Hall


Beatriz Gouveia
Post-doctoral Researcher

Beatriz is originally from Esperanca Nova, Parana State, Brazil. She graduated with a B.S degree in Agronomy at Universidade Estadual de Maringa (Umuarama, Brazil) in 2014. She got her M.S. in plant science and Ph.D. in genetics and plant breeding from Universidade Federal de Lavras (Lavras, Brazil) in 2016 and 2019, respectively.

Beatriz’s current research focuses on multi-environment trial analysis of turf species (Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, Seashore Paspalum and Zoysiagrass) for the Warm-season Turfgrass Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) projects.

In her spare time Beatriz enjoys traveling and spending time with friends.

Contact Information
gouveiabt@ncsu.edu
984-234-8385
1209 Williams Hall


Sydney Graham
Graduate Research Assistant

Sydney is originally from Waukee, Iowa. She received a BS in genetics from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in December 2017. Sydney joined the program in the summer of 2018 to pursue an M.S. degree.

Sydney’s research is focused on identifying putative genes that impact freeze tolerance in St. Augustinegrass through validation of previously identified QTL. Further identification through transcriptomics will proceed linkage validation of associated genomic regions.

In her spare time Sydney enjoys reading a good book in her hammock, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Contact Information
segraha3@ncsu.edu
919-515-0324
1209 Williams Hall


Greta Rockstad
Graduate Research Assistant

Greta hails from a farm outside Ada, Minnesota. She received her degree in plant science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and joined our team in the summer of 2019 to pursue an M.S. degree in crop science.

Her research will build on the drought tolerance mapping efforts in St. Augustinegrass by validating previously identified QTL. Another part of her project will be to evaluate various high-throughput phenotyping tools for assessing drought tolerance in St. Augustinegrass.

Some of her hobbies include rock climbing, skiing, and experiencing the craft beer scene in North Carolina.

Contact Information
gbrockst@ncsu.edu
919-515-0324
1209 Williams Hall