Hello! I’m Malachy (Mack), a post-doctoral research associate in the Jannink Lab in the Plant Breeding and Genetics section at Cornell University. My research here at Cornell is focused on intergrating mutliple omics data to understand and improve nutritional quality in oat.
Broadly defined, my research aims to integrate cutting edge genomic and phenomic approaches to understand how plants respond to environmental stresses, and to provide breeders with a means to improve these responses. My overarching goal is to bridge plant physiology and quantitative genetics to provide a mechanistic understanding of how plant respond to suboptimal conditions and provide resources (novel frameworks and causal genetic variants) that can be leveraged to improve these mechanisms in elite germplasm.
I have somewhat of a mixed research background. My Master’s work under Harkamal Walia at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, leveraged classical physiology and molecular biology to understand the mechanisms underlying flooding tolerance in maize and drought tolerance in wheat. My PhD research in the Walia lab sought to understand the genetic basis of salt tolerance in rice by integrating high-thoughput phenotyping, genome-wide association mapping and large-scale transcriptomics. The highlight of these efforts was the identification of a sodium transporter, HKT1;1, that explained much of the divergence between the Indica and Japonica subspecies of rice for root sodium content. I honed my quantitative genetics skills as a postdoc in Gota Morota’s lab at Virginia Tech, where much of my research focused on developing genomic prediction and inference frameworks for longitudinal traits. We further extended classical quantitive genetic frameworks to accomidate data generated from high-thoughput phenotyping platforms, and provide novel biological insights into the genetic interrelationships of complex traits.