top of page

Current Lab Members


Alfred Huo (Ph.D)

Principal Investigator

Dr. Huo joined UF in early 2017. Currently, he is an assistant professor at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center at the University of Florida. His current research focuses on the breeding of horticultural and ornamental plants including lettuce, tomato, snapdragons, begonia, and petunia.  His lab applies various approaches including CRISPR genome editing, transposon mutagenesis, genomic sequencing to these plants for improving abiotic stress tolerance. 

2019 Speaker Schoellhorn 150 dpi.jpg

Dr. Rick Schoellhorn

Plant Breeding Advisor

Dr. Rick Schoellhorn received his M.S. (1992) and Ph.D. (1996) from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and his B.S. from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado in 1989. 

Dr. Rick Schoellhorn has worked in both industry and academia in his career, but always focused on new plants and new plant introductions. He has toured the United States, Indonesia, Holland, Germany, Spain, Madeira Island Portugal, Costa Rica, Japan, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico collecting plants and consulting with growers.

Rick has been the Director of New Products for Proven Winners, a college professor at the University of Florida, in retail nursery sales, and golf course maintenance in California. Nursery production and sales in Alaska, and as owner of an interiorscape installation and design company in Colorado. 

Rick is the co-author of “Your Florida Guide to Perennials” with Dr. Sydney Park-Brown.

Matthew Creech
Biological Scientist

Matthew is the chief of this lab.He is in charge of chemical inventory, supplies purchasing, management of greenhouse and growth chambers, lab safety training, etc. He has years of experience in grape tissue culture and regeneration. He is a plant lover and trying to grow different exotic plants in the lab and in his own private nursery. He likes fishing, but not dozens of Koi fishes in his own pond.

Julian Ginori, click here to see his personal page.
Ph.D. Student

Julian is pursuing a PhD degree in Environmental Horticulture, with a specialization in plant breeding and genetics. He is currently working on the development of heat stress tolerance in Begonia and applying that knowledge towards the newly formed begonia breeding program. Since its start, the begonia germplasm collection has reached over 150 species and cultivars.
Chi Nguyen, Click here to see her personal page.
Ph.D. Student

Chi is pursuing her Ph.D. degree in plant science, with a focus on understanding the effect of interactions between DOG-1, AHG1, and microRNAs on regulating seed dormancy and flowering of lettuce in responses to environmental cues. The project entails the development of different vectors and transgenic lines to determine the genetic relationships among the genes. ​She enjoys fishing and camping as well as tasting new food. 
Tao Jiang , Ph.D​.
Post Doc

Tao Joined the lab in Spring 2020. Tao is focused on examining lettuce genetics and molecular breeding. Jiang’s research specifically focuses on using an integrated approach to understand the temperature effect on lettuce seed germination and flowering, dissecting molecular mechanisms underlying temperature response of lettuce during flower and seed germination, and leaf senescence of multiple plant species. 

Ph.D. Research Assistantship in Plant Breeding


The plant breeding lab at the Mid-Florida Research & Education Center at the University of Florida has a Ph.D. position available; this position comes with a full research assistantship (tuition waived and an annual stipend of $30,000). The student will focus on characterizing snapdragon mutants with strong stress tolerance using Bulk Segregant Genetic Analysis and whole genome sequencing. The development and release of new cultivars will also be part of this research project. The student will be expected to receive training in genetics, physiology, genomic sequencing, and genome editing.


Applicants with an M.S. degree in plant science (Horticulture, Agronomy, Forestry, Plant Biology, Plant Pathology, etc. ) and a strong publication record will be highly preferred.


Minimum Requirements:

  1. GPA 3.0 or above


  1. TOEFL 80 or IELTS 6.0, GRE is NOT required( No English test request from some countries, for more information: Grad International - University of Florida (


To be fully considered, you need to submit your application package (CV, official English Test scores, official transcripts, three reference letters, application form) (before January 15, 2023) following the link below.


Admissions - Plant Breeding Program - University of Florida - Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - UF/IFAS (


Please directly email to for additional information.  

bottom of page