Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Cecilia McGregor

Cecilia obtained her Undergraduate in Animal Physiology & Genetics and M.S. in Molecular Genetics at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and her Ph.D from Louisiana State University. She has worked on a wide variety of organisms, including fish(!), Proteaceae, maize, potato and sweetpotato. She joined UGA in 2008 and currently focuses on watermelon, squash and bell pepper breeding and genetics.

Lab Members

Alex Luckew (Postdoc: 2019 – present)

Alex graduated with a B.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He continued his education at Iowa State University receiving two M.S., one in Plant Pathology and one in Plant Breeding and a PhD in Plant Breeding. His previous projects focused on disease resistance breeding, specifically soybean sudden death syndrome. Currently, his research focus is identifying resistance in squash to whiteflies and the viruses they transmit.

Samuel Manthi (PhD Student: 2019 to present)

Samuel obtained his Bachelor of Education (Science) at the Egerton University (Kenya) and MSC from the Northeast Normal University (Jilin, China). He has worked on a number of plants including Finger millet, Pearl millet, Sorghum, Pigeonpea and Groundnut at the International Crops Research for Arid and Semi-Arid Tropics (I.C.R.I.S.A.T) Nairobi. His current focus is research on Genes controlling fruit size and shape in watermelon.

Nebahat Sari (Postdoc: 2023 – present)

Nebahat graduated with a B.S. as a valedictorian from the Department of Horticulture of Cukurova University Turkey. She obtained her MSc and PhD on Cucurbit breeding with a bilateral cooperation between Cukurova University, Turkey and INRAE, France. Her previous projects focused on doubled haploid technology; collection, characterization, and management of Cucurbit genetic resources; F1 hybrid breeding; biotic and abiotic stress in Cucurbits; vegetable grafting and plant tissue culture. Currently, she is working on resistance to whitefly transmitted viruses and watermelon tissue culture.

Amelia Boettcher (MS Student: 2023 to present)

Amelia graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science and worked at BASF as a watermelon variety trial assistant, before joining the lab.

Undergraduate Students

Patrick Gattiker (Undergraduate Student: 2022 – present)
Megan Stoddard (Undergraduate Student: 2022 – present)
Cala McEachron (Undergraduate Student: 2023 – present)
Megan Rodriguez (Undergraduate Student: 2022 – present)
John Sims (Undergraduate Student: 2023 – present)

Former Lab Members

  • Jorge Reyes (Ph.D., graduated May 2023)
  • Lincoln Adams (M.S., graduated 2021)
  • Katie Sandlin (M.S., graduated 2009)
  • Jason Prothro (M.S., graduated 2009)
  • Swikriti Pandey
  • Samikshya Rijal
  • Reeve Legendre
  • Jesse Kuzy (Research Technician, 2017-2022)
  • Vickie Waters (Research Technician, 2009-2013)
  • Yihua Chen (Research Technician, 2013-2017)
  • Ayse Topcu (Researcher, 2017-2018; 2021-2022)
  • Douglas Vines (Undergraduate Researcher: 2020 – 2023)
  • Jake Mayne (REEU undergraduate fellow 2023)
  • Derrick Ousley (REEU undergraduate fellow 2019)
  • Matt Li (CAES Young Scholar, 2019)
  • Marin Lonnee (CAES Young Scholar, 2018)
  • Amaja Andrews (CAES Young Scholar, 2017)
  • Joshua Thedford (CAES Young Scholar, 2017)
  • Phyllicia Thomas (CAES Young Scholar, 2015)
  • Angela Hulsey (CAES Young Scholar, 2012)
  • Darrica McDowell (CAES Young Scholar, 2011)
  • Jacob Centers (Undergraduate)
  • Ashton Vincent (Undergraduate)
  • Derek Christner (Undergraduate)
  • Wyatt Brooks (Undergraduate)
  • Sydney Smallwood (Undergraduate)
  • Kaelyn Morgan (Undergraduate)
  • Baker Stickley (Undergraduate)
  • Chloe Wilson (Undergraduate)
  • Ingrid Brindle (Undergraduate)
  • Ben Carper (Undergraduate)
  • Wei-Han (Hank) Chen (Undergraduate)
  • Taylor Combs (Undergraduate)
  • Jacqueline Do (Undergraduate)
  • Erin Gnatt (Undergraduate)
  • Preston Harden (Undergraduate)
  • Lillianna Mulvey (Undergraduate)
  • Sam Lopez (Undergraduate)
  • Kristie Le (Undergraduate)
  • Rebekah Williamson (Undergraduate)
  • Emma Casper (Undergraduate)
  • Daniel Powell (Undergraduate)
  • Chase Sherwood (Undergraduate)
  • Jean Yost (Undergraduate)
  • Will Hemphill (Undergraduate)
  • Kristin Adams (Undergraduate)
  • Ruqayah Bhuiyan (Undergraduate)
  • Graf Exum (Undergraduate)
  • Will Groover (Undergraduate)
  • Dalton Haden (Undergraduate)
  • Will Hembree (Undergraduate)
  • Jacob Langley (Undergraduate)
  • Eric Malaney (Undergraduate)
  • Dusty Martin (Undergraduate)
  • Ben McInnes (Undergraduate)
  • Josh Mickey (Undergraduate)
  • Jessica Norton (Undergraduate)
  • Jared Gilstrap (Undergraduate)
  • Allen Ray (Undergraduate)
  • Jeremy Ray (Undergraduate)
  • Angela Riveiro (Undergraduate)
  • Ethan Roberson (Undergraduate)
  • Angela Seibel (Undergraduate)
  • Jarrod Smith (Undergraduate)
  • Maria Thompson (Undergraduate)
  • Grace Yu (Undergraduate)