Our Team - Alumni


Alex.jpgAlex Greenspan

Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Email: greenspan@ucdavis.edu




Mr. Alex Greenspan completed his Ph.D. in the department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis in 2018. His doctoral research focused on the genomic and phenotypic diversity of chickpea’s nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbionts of the genus Mesorhizobium. This research incorporated bioinformatics and microbial genomics with experimental methods in plant science and microbiology with the goal of understanding the factors that affect nodulation in chickpea, how the symbiosis varies geographically, and how it can be managed agriculturally.

Alex cut his scientific teeth at the University of Colorado where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and conducted research in culture-independent microbial ecology in the lab of Norm Pace. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate Resilient Chickpea offered Alex the perfect opportunity to match his background in microbiology with his inordinate fondness for hummus.



Varma.pngR. Varma Penmetsa

Project Scientist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, USA

Email: rvpenmetsa@ucdavis.edu





Dr. Penmetsa a legume biologist/molecular geneticist at the University of California-Davis. His academic background spans both applied and basic plant sciences, from a BS program in Agricultural Science (GB Pant University, India), and graduate degrees in Crop Science (MS, Virginia Tech) and Genetics (PhD, Texas A&M University).

He has a longstanding engagement in basic research in legumes, particularly in molecular genetics of symbiotic development in the model legume Medicago truncatula. More recently he has been involved in comparative genetics and genomics of crop legumes with the goal of improving molecular/genomic resources in legume crops, particularly those of relevance to the developing regions of the world. This later work was conducted in collaboration with an international network of partners. Recent and current research activities are aimed at defining the genetic architecture and molecular cloning of genes underlying domestication and agronomic traits in several food crop legumes.



Yadira Reynaldo

Lab Manager, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, USA

Email: yreynald@fiu.edu

Yadira Reynaldo is currently a Laboratory Manager in the Department of Biological Sciences in Florida International University. Her background training includes organic chemistry synthesis and inorganic chemistry focusing on fluorophores and optical sensors. Yadira has worked in Florida International University as a laboratory instructor for various courses in Biology and Chemistry since 2009. She had former employment as a HPLC Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry before joining the von Wettberg lab in 2013. Her primary task is related to nutrient analysis of chickpeas.