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Chase Crowell

Chase Crowell

Graduate Student

Barton Hall, Room A136


May 2015,  Bachelor of Science, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN

Graduate Advisor: Christine Smart

Research Focus

Short rotation coppice (SRC) crops have gained popularity in recent years as bioenergy initiatives provide incentive for farmers to expand the nation’s energy sources. Of these crops, shrub willow (Salix spp.) shows great promise due to its robust woody growth following coppicing, even on marginal lands typically unusable for food production. With this increase in demand for shrub willow, growers and breeders are becoming more conscious of diseases that infect Salix cultivars, including the most devastating disease, willow leaf rust caused by Melampsora spp. Melampsora rust is a diverse, heteroecious, obligate biotroph that can directly account for up to a 50% loss in yield in susceptible Salix cultivars, made worse by the risk of secondary pathogens capitalizing on the resulting damaged tissue. Historically as with most rust pathogens, willow rusts have been placed in a single taxon, Melampsora epitea, based on morphological characteristics. In recent years, this diverse group of organisms in the Northeast US has been classified into three distinct taxa (a Ribes-alternating group, a Larix-alternating group - M. paradoxa, and an Abies-alternating group M. americana) based on internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and partial large subunit (LSU) rDNA sequence phylogenetic analysis. However, no project to date has investigated genotypic diversity of willow rust populations using molecular markers. Therefore, I will investigate Melampsora willow rust population genotype dynamics on S. purpurea in the Northeast US using the marker-based method genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). This will lead to further investigations into pathogenicity of willow rust while elucidating important resistance information for efficient shrub willow breeding programs.

Links to Recent/Current Projects     

Elected and Appointed Offices

  • August 2015-Present –Perspective Student Committee Member
  • August 2015-Present – Social Committee Member
  • January 2016-Present – Brewmaster, Zymology Club

Professional Societies

Member of American Phytopathological Society (APS)


Abed, J. A., Cheng, C. L., Crowell, C. R., Madigan, L. L., Onwuegbuchu, E., Desai, S., Jones, R. S. (2013). Mapping Polycomb Response Elements at the Drosophila melanogaster giant Locus. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 3(12), 2297–2304.