We study genetic variation in plant populations, focusing on genes that influence traits controlling plant performance in an environmental context – a central theme throughout our research in natural and agricultural populations.
Much of the Mitchell-Olds Lab focuses on the genes that affect ecological success and evolutionary fitness in natural environments. The interaction of crop plants with their biotic and abiotic environments is controlled by complex trait variation which can be elucidated by interdisciplinary analyses incorporating functional genomics, physiological and chemical ecology, and population and quantitative genetics. Researchers in the Mitchell-Olds Lab work at several levels: genetic variation within populations, local adaptation among populations, and the evolution of species differences. Their study systems are centered on the wild relatives of Arabidopsis, as well as complex trait variation of rice in Asia and Africa.
Thomas Mitchell-Olds received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He spent one year in a post-doctoratal position at the NIH. He is a former Director of the Max-Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany ("Plant and Animal Genome XXVI," 2017).