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Postdoc Spotlight: Gina M. Sideli

Dr. Gina M. Sideli is a postdoctoral scholar with the almond breeding program at the department of plant sciences, UC Davis since 2019. She obtained her PhD in Horticulture and Agronomy with the walnut breeding program at UC Davis, and was originally attracted to UC Davis due to the various crops being studied, including fruits and nuts.

Area of research

Her work focuses on supporting almond breeding efforts by utilizing current genomic technologies and developing large scale phenotyping methods. Specifically, her research encompasses improvement of nut quality by understanding lipid composition, investigating a phenological trait, self-fertility, and pathogen resistant rootstock. With the use of current sequencing technologies, a large number of trees within the breeding program can be genotyped and their kinship relationships confirmed. By utilizing computer vision systems, precise measurements can be taken on an entire plot of trees at one time. A main goal of her work is to combine both phenotypic and genotypic information which will allow for genomic predictions, genome-wide associations, and development of molecular markers for marker-assisted breeding.

Past and future

Prior to her time as a postdoctoral scholar, as a PhD student, she contributed to the development of a molecular breeding program in walnut. She identified trait variation for both seed coat pigmentation and strength of shell suture in walnut. These findings both serve to assist the breeder in making parent and progeny selection decisions. In the future, Gina wishes to continue her career in academia and run a tree breeding program.

Personal life

In her spare time, she enjoys hikes in the mountains or walks along the beach with her husband and daughter. She is an avid gardener and relishes in the opportunity to prepare meals for her family or guests. She would consider herself a “foodie”, always exploring then cooking up dishes. Discovering and being surrounded by plants is what makes Gina come alive.