Current Lab Members

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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. 

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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.

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Frank Lian
Ph.D. Student


Frank joined our lab in Fall 2018 and he is currently working on his project for Snapdragon transposon and develop protocols for snapdragon genetic transformation. 
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
 
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Torikul Islam, Ph.D​.
Post Doc

Torikul Islam joined Dr. Alfred’s lab in the summer of 2021. His research aims are- Identification and characterization of small RNAs that are responsive to maternal environmental temperatures during seed development and germination of tomato. He is also working on the development of innovative suitable methods for the practical application of small RNAs in controlling seed development. His future goal is crop improvement through small RNA application.
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Prasanna Kharel
Lab Technician

Prasanna is helping our lab members with plant transformation and learning different molecular biology techniques. He graduated from Department of Agronomy at UF in 2021 with a Master degree. He is planning to apply for a Ph.D. program at UF in 2022.