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University of Wisconsin–Madison

A Plant Phenotyping Core at the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center to Enable Discovery and Technology Transfer

This project funds acquisition of several pieces of equipment that will create a Plant Phenotyping Core and enhance the capabilities of the newly established Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC), as well as partially fund a staff person to implement the imaging equipment.  Population growth, climate change, and altered land use are all critical factors that are challenging the sufficiency and stability of world food supply. Understanding how information encoded in the plant genome is translated, in the context of variable environments, into the useful fruits, seeds, and vegetative organs that we harvest will enable us to more quickly develop the cultivars needed to meet human needs.

A Plant Phenotyping Core will provide a central resource for coordination of measurements of many properties including molecular profiles, plant growth, and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. It will also provide an innovation hub where biologists, engineers, and computational scientists – both public and private – can interact to develop new technologies and analysis approaches to enhance plant biology research.

Equipment additions include a fluorescence hyperspectral camera system, which is a novel technology for the campus and will be useful for imaging a wide-variety of materials including tissue cultures, seeds, floral tissues such as maize ears, fruits, roots and tubers such as carrots and potatoes, and whole plants.  In addition, a DNA extraction machine and real-time PCR machine will be acquired to be used for quality control and genotyping of transgenic and edited plants, and for the collection of materials for genomic analysis in collaboration with the UW Biotechnology Center.

Principal Investigator

  • Shawn Kaeppler
    Professor of Agronomy

 Co-Principal Investigators

  • Natalie de Leon
    Associate Professor of Agronomy
  • Heidi Kaeppler
    Associate Professor of Agronomy
  • Nathan Miller
    Professor of Botany
  • Michael Peterson
    Associate Director of the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center
  • Edgar Spalding
    Professor of Botany


  • Richard Amasino
    Professor of Biochemistry
  • Jean-Michel Ane
    Professor of Bacteriology and Agronomy
  • Andrew Bent
    Professor of Plant Pathology
  • Michael Sussman
    Professor of Biochemistry