FRI Biology Stream


ecology, molecular biology, plant biology, quantitative genetics

our research

Our Research

The X-Plants stream focuses on the use of a newly created population of mutant Hall's panicgrass (Panicum hallii), genomics analyses, and ecophysiological techniques in order to study the biology of perennial grasses with an emphasis on their utility as biofuels, role in sustainable carbon sequestration, and ecological restoration.

X-Plants student researchers

Our Strategy

Students interested in molecular biology, ecology, physiology, or quantitative genetics will gain experience in genomics, light bioinformatics (R-programming), plant biology, and field observations.


In the X-Plants stream, researchers learn how to:

  • annotate gene models and understand the basics of functional gene analysis.
  • compose and implement an experimental design and appropriate statistical analyses (utilizing R when possible).
  • propagate plants; growing and maintaining plants in field or greenhouse settings.
  • collect and assess plant ecophysiological and morphological measurements.

Our Impact

Panicum hallii is an emerging diploid C4 grass model system. Within the mutant P. hallii population, over 1000 stable mutations have been characterized. Our goal for this stream is to continue validating these mutations, identifying gene disruptions, and connecting mutations to relevant phenotypes; thereby, we will further establish our P. hallii model system and provide genomic resources on par with Arabidopsis thaliana.

Our Team

Profile image of Aleah Henderson-Carter

Aleah Henderson-Carter

  • Assistant Professor of Practice
  • Integrative Biology
  • Freshman Research Initiative
Profile image of Thomas Juenger

Thomas Juenger

  • Professor
  • Integrative Biology
  • Texas Field Station Network
  • Biodiversity Center


Course Credit
Research Outcomes

Coming Soon!