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Dr. Thai 'Dat' Dao

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Thai ‘Dat’ Dao earned a PhD from UC Berkeley’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Fletcher studying the effect of CLE peptides on stem cell maintainence in Arabidopsis thaliana. As a postdoc in the lab, Dat is developing fluorescent hormone sensors to compare hormone biology across agricultural grass species. Dat’s work involves molecular cloning, bioengineering (particle bombardment), plant anatomy, and lots of microscopy.

Dat is a skilled scientific illustrator and is open to new collaborations for scientific communications projects.

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Rachel Baschieri

PhD Student

Rachel Baschieri is a PhD student at Oregon State Unversity’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Rachel earned a BSc in Horticultural Sciences at Unversity of Florida before joining the lab. Rachel’s reseach focuses on identifying the genes behind natural diversity in sorghum inflorescences through quantitative genetics, combined with physiological experiments with hormones to effect inflorescence shape and size.

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Diana Ruggiero

PhD Student

Diana Ruggiero is a PhD student at Oregon State Unversity’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Before joining the lab, Diana recieved a BA Computer Science at Bard College then worked in landscape restoration in Portland, Oregon. Diana’s research is focused on discovering cellular mechanisms of vein development using single cell transcriptomics and surveying the natural diversity of vein arragnement using deep learning approaches in maize.

Diana is an Oregon ARCS Scholar and a 2020 recipient of the Oregon State University Provost Scholarship.

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Leslie Harris

Undergraduate Researcher

Leslie Harris is an undergraduate in Botany at Oregon State Unversity’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Prior to transferring to OSU, Leslie served in the USMC and began a degree at Irvine Valley College. Leslie’s reseach focuses on the molecular genetic characterization of Wavy Auricle in Blade 2, a new maize leaf mutant.


The Lab @ RWLB

alt text The Leiboff Lab consists of 3200+ sqft of collaborative research space, shared with the labs of Dr. Molly Megraw and Dr. John Fowlers within the Oregon State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. We anticipate moving back to the OSU main campus Summer 2022.

To examine development at the cellular level, we have a Leica DMi8 THUNDER inverted microscope and a Leica M205 FCA THUNDER stereoscope, which enables studies of entire tissues and live plant dissections. Both scopes are equipped with epifluorescence and Leica’s THUNDER computational dehazing method for near-subcellular resolution. We routinely use paraffin-embeded tissue histology and the preparation of microscope slides for understanding features of plant anatomy.

The lab has typical molecular biology equipment, including thermal cyclers, incubators, and centrifuges. Through the Botany and Plant Pathology department, we also have access to high throughput tissue homogenization tools, a liquid handling robotics platform, qRT-PCR machines, and cell sorting equipment.

The Greenhouse

alt text The lab occupies a 700 sqft climate-controlled greenhouse where maize and other large grasses can be grown year-round. For full spectrum lighting we use VOLT LED growlights. Plant care, including watering and integrated pest management are conducted by College of Agricultural Sciences Greenhouse Operations Unit.

The Nursery @ the OSU BPP Farm

alt text The lab plants a 1-acre summer nursery at the OSU Botany and Plant Pathology Farm. Field preparation, treatment, and watering are managed by the awesome Botany Field Lab manager and staff. Most NA-adapted maize and sorghum germplasm grows well during our mild, dry summers. Our field season is typically June - October, with our spooky corn collected in time for Halloween.