Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology—MS, PhD

Hardwood genomics. Identifying key genes in the root development of poplar trees. Cultivating Chinese Elm via tissue-culture. Targeting small RNAs for destruction in rice epigenome by short tandem target mimic. Understanding the relation of oak species in the context of drought and climate change. Modifying plant cell walls for bioenergy production. Solve forestry problems using biogeochemistry, functional genomics, ecological genetics, gene expression data analysis and other tools that lead to healthier trees, and respond to ecological challenges. Manipulate plants by transforming with sequences promoting cell division. Research hybridization and divergent selection in multispecies oak communities or poplar gene expression data analysis pipelines, and adaptive genetic diversity in American chestnut.

General Requirements

For specific requirements of this graduate program please see the CFRES Graduate Handbook

Program Strengths and Opportunities

  • Understand the life process and genetic controls of forest organisms as they relate to their environment, from plant breeding to forensic biology. Measure and conserve genetic diversity in natural populations, or manage it in tree-breeding programs.
  • The most lab-based of our graduate programs, but highly relevant to the field, working with mechanisms of heredity and expression of genotypes in forest trees especially to forest sustainability and climate-change mitigation, as well as forest resortation.
  • Study the evolution of trees as drivers of terrestrial biodiversity. Work on important developments related to climate change response, for example, growing the right species in the right places.
  • DNA microarray, DNA sequencing, remote sensing, plant and soil ecology: 6,500 feet of labs and facilities, 2,000 feet of greenhouse, and 5,397 acres of research forest. Collaborative research labs and institutions across campus.  
  • A 100-percent job placement rate for graduate students in this discipline.
  • Tap into the wide breadth of expertise within our small, friendly academic community. Get to know us, and find who you want to work with.
  • Research degrees are non-specific, and we intentionally set a low number of required classes, unless your committee requires them.
  • Explore your interests with your committee and your advisor to define the optimal educational experience.
"To reveal these hidden transcripts of tree genomes, we employ a novel experiment method for systematic identification of NATs in Populus and Pine genomes."
Yinan Yuan, Research Assistant Professor

Funding Opportunities

  • We work diligently to continuously acquire research funding—and we are successful. Our research expenditures total more than $300,000 per faculty member, the highest external funding level of any academic unit at Michigan Tech.
  • Research the researchers. Match your area of interest with a faculty member, and contact him or her directly—your best chance to be matched with an assistantship and research project.
  • Check our open research positions often, where you will also find a listing of fellowships, jobs, and other funding opportunities.