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Julian Ginori

PhD Candidate

Environmental Horticulture Department

Mid-Florida Research and Education Center


Research Interests:

My research is focused on the understanding and development of heat stress tolerance in Begonia. I specifically work on observing the morphological and physiological aspects of the wax begonia (Begonia semperflorens) and how these change when exposed to abiotic stress factors such as heat, light, and drought. Since my time here, the Huo lab has started a breeding program to develop heat and light tolerant varieties to be grown through the harsh Florida summers. 

A Bit About Me

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida before leaving to attain my Bachelors of Science in Botany from the University of Florida. My passion for plants began at an early age with constant camping trips to the outdoors and a large collection of plants at home, carefully curated by my mother. Upon completing my bachelors, I spent some time in Colorado and Minnesota where I worked with the University of Minnesota on climate change ecology research. This experience solidified my desire to pursue a career in plants and knew the University of Florida had one of the best Plant Science programs in the country. I started my PhD under Dr. Alfred Huo in 2019 and through all the trials and tribulations, I have loved every second of it. Before starting this PhD, I barely knew what a begonia was but have since come to truly appreciate the beauty and diversity of the genus (see images below). I find myself constantly in awe of new species and cultivars that are added to our ever growing collection here at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center. In my spare time I enjoy rock-climbing, hiking, camping, snowboarding, ideally with friends or family. 

Curriculum Vitae



University of Florida                                                                                                                                                                                                               2019 – Present

Doctor of Philosophy, Plant Breeding and Genetics- Environmental Horticulture                                                                                                                  Apopka, FL

  • GPA: 3.75/4.00 Cumulative

  • Dissertation Topic: Understanding and Development of Heat Stress Tolerance in Begonia.

  • Relevant Coursework: Genetic Improvement of Plants, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Statistical Methods in Research, Molecular Markers in Plant Breeding, Plant Propagation


University of Florida                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2012-2016

Bachelor of Science, Botany                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gainesville, FL

  • Conducted microscopy research on the anatomical features of the Persea, specifically vascular tissue, affected by the Laurel Wilt pathogen, using morphometric scoring and analysis techniques.

  • Relevant Coursework: Problem Solving Computer Software, Plants in Human Affairs, Ecology, Phys/Molec Biology of Plants, Advanced Genetics, Plant Anatomy





Refereed Publications

  • Ryan A Folk*, Julian C Ginori*, Douglas E Soltis, Aaron J Floden, Integrative identification of incipient lineages in Heuchera longiflora (Saxifragaceae), Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 187, Issue 2, June 2018, Pages 327–345 *These authors contributed equally

  • Ginori, J. H. Hequian, Wilson, S.B. Morphological and Physiological Response of Begonia semperflorens to Heat and Light Stress. *In internal review


Peer Reviewed Proceedings

  • Ginori, J., H. Hequian, and S.B. Wilson. 2020. Protocol development for genome size estimation of Begonia accessions. Florida Society of Horticulture Sciences Annual Conference (Virtual). Oct. 19. (poster). Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.

  • Ginori, J., H. Hequian, and S.B. Wilson. 2022. Physiological response of wax begonia to heat and light stress. International Plant Propagators Society Annual Conference. Oct 16. Proc. Int. Plant. Prop. Soc.


Peer Reviewed UF EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source)

  • Ginori, J., Huo, A., Wilson, S., & Deng, Z. (2022). A Beginner’s Guide to Begonias: Vegetative Propagation. EDIS, 2022. 

  • Ginori, J., Huo, A., Wilson, S., & Deng, Z. (2022). A Beginner’s Guide to Begonias: Seed Propagation. EDIS, 2022. 

  • Ginori, J., Huo, A. (2022). A Beginner’s Guide to Begonias: Rex Begonias. EDIS, 2021.

  • Ginori, J., Huo, A., & Warwick, C. R. (2020). A Beginner’s Guide to Begonias: Classification and Diversity. EDIS, 2020.





  • International Plant Propagators Society Poster Presenter. 2022. 

  • FSHS Oral Presentation. 2022.

  • National Association of Plant Breeders Poster Competition. 2022.

  • University of Florida Plant Science Symposium 3MT Competition. 2022.

  • Plant Breeding Retreat Poster Presentation. 2020.

  • FSHS Oral Presentation. 2020.






  • Huo, H., Ginori, J., Wilson, S., Norman, D., Moffis, B. 2022. “Evaluation of Begonia Germplasm for Stress Resilient Cultivar Development.” FDACS Specialty Crop Block Program. $175,000





Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics

  • Conducted research under Dr. Rob Guralnick on integrative species delimitation using geographical, morphological, and genetic data (Sanger, NGS) with the aim to shed light on the morphological differences between northern and southern populations of Heuchera longiflora.

  • Responsible for morphometric scoring and analyses (ImageJ, MorphoJ), phylogenetic analyses (RAxML, BPP), and Next-Generation Sequencing assembly (whole chloroplast genomes, low-copy nuclear loci).

  • Conducted research in the Soltis laboratory under Dr. Ryan Folk with the aim to determine the presence or absence of cryptic species in what is currently recognized as Heuchera longiflora.

  • Responsible for laboratory maintenance while conducting DNA extraction and clean-up, PCR techniques, Sanger sequencing, alignment, and phylogenetic analyses (RAxML, BPP, SplitsTree).


B4WARMED – University of Minnesota

  • Conducted shoot and bud phenology surveys on species of pine, birch, oak, maple, and honey suckle.

  • Collecting soil flux and leaf florescence data using LICOR systems.

  • Troubleshot electrical failures associated with data collection and system heating.

  • Collected carbon assimilation, stomatal conductance, and transpiration data using LICOR-6400.

  • Analyzing datasets spanning 10 years using imageJ and JMP.




  • ASHS Graduate Student Spotlight. January 2023

  • Sweetwater Oaks Scholarship. 2023.

  • Bloom and Grow Scholarship. 2023.

  • CALS Muriel Rumsey Scholarship. 2022.

  • Sidney B. Meadows - Richard J. Hackney Scholarship. 2022.

  • IPPS Student Poster Award. 2022.

  • Jasper Joiner Student Travel Award. 2022

  • NAPB National Graduate Student Video Contest, 1st Place. 2022.

  • Sweetwater Oaks Scholarship. 2022.

  • Plant Breeding Graduate Initiative Fellowship 2019-2022.

  • Young Botanist of the Year Award, The Botanical Society of America. 2017.






  • LICOR-6800, Sysmex Ploidy Analyzer, Irrigation, PCR, Synergy H1 microplate reader, autoclave, hand microtome, ultramicrotome, Elitech dataloggers, Olympus IX-81.


  • ImageJ, MorphoJ, R Studio, Cube16, Microsoft Office (Excel, Power Point, Word, Teams), GIMP, Java, WIX website maintenance, ElitechLogWin.





  • PLS5222C - Plant Propagation Teaching Assistant                                                                                                                                                                Fall 2022

    • Developed lesson plan to teach vegetative propagation of herbaceous plants.

    • Organized and recorded virtual lab detailing methods of vegetative plant propagation, to be shared across the state.

    • Ensured plant material was prepared for lab usage.





  • UF IFAS Begonia Workshop

    • Organized a Begonia training seminar centered on the diversity of Begonia and its potential uses in breeding and landscaping.

    • Recruited experts from around the world to present at the event.

    • Presented on the effect of abiotic stressors on growth and development of Begonia semperflorens.

    • Networked with industry leaders, private collectors, and researchers regarding the ornamental impact of begonia.

  • Dr. Nelson Ying Orange County Science Exposition Judging Captain

    • Oversaw the judging of middle and high school science projects related to plant sciences.

    • Determined winning projects to move on to national level science competitions.

    • Provided feedback to students regarding projects.

  • Scientist in Every Florida School (SEFS) Volunteer Scientist/Teacher 2021-2022

    • Volunteers receive requests from teachers in elementary, middle, and high school to help teach topics related to my research.

    • Developed lesson plans and exploratory studies to teach children plant related topics.

  • UF Plant Breeding Department Communication and Outreach Coordinator 2021-2022

    • Head of social media outreach for new Plant Breeding Department at UF.

    • Authored and posted Plant Breeder of the Month Feature, highlighting work done by professors at the University.

    • Created meaningful engagement on social media platforms

  • Plant Science Council Digital Communications Chair. 2021-2022

    • Maintenance of PSC website (

    • Live streaming of PSC events.

    • Troubleshooting of all technical aspects of events.

    • Oversaw all digital and social media platforms for PSC.

  • MREC Social Committee 2021-2022

    • Organized engaging events for MREC staff including holiday socials and end of year socials.

  • Plant Science Council President. 2020-2021

    • Organized first fully virtual Plant Science Symposium.

    • Requested funding from industry leaders and university departments.

    • Oversaw usage of $20,000 budget.

    • Reached out to industry and academic professionals for speaking opportunities.

    • Planned monthly events to aid students in various aspects of graduate life.

    • Planned plant breeding field trip in which students visited industry properties and learned from professionals.

  • Plant Science Council Plant Breeding Retreat Chair. 2019-2020

    • Organized the 4th annual Plant Breeding Retreat.

    • Recruited industry speakers to help develop graduate students.

    • Moderated 3-Minute flash talk competition.




  • American Society for Horticultural Science

  • Florida State Horticultural Society

  • National Association of Plant Breeders

  • International Plant Propagators Society

  • Extension Professional Associations of Florida

  • Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association

  • Botanical Society of America




  • Dr. Alfred Huo

    • PhD Advisor, Assistant Professor of Environmental Horticulture


  • Dr. Sandra Wilson

    • PhD Committee member, Professor of Environmental Horticulture


  • Matthew Creech

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