Penn State Alum Awarded $3.8 Million Grant

November 23, 2010 in Alumni, Awards, Grad Students, Research

Dr. Chandra earned her Ph.D. degree in Agronomy from The Pennsylvania State University in 2007 working under the direction of Dr. David Huff on a fascinating interaction between smut which causes male buffalograss to develop female sex organs. This kind of sex change is known as induced hermaphroditism and Dr. Chandra’s work provided the first molecular mechanism for understanding the underlying parasitically induced hermaphroditism in any organism. Dr. Ambika Chandra joined The Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Urban Solution Center in September, 2007, as an Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Breeding and Molecular Genetics.

USDA grants $3.8 million to AgriLife Research and Extension in Dallas for turf improvement

( – DALLAS – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $3.8 million grant to the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas and others for developing, improving and commercializing drought and salinity tolerant turfgrasses.

The Dallas center, which is a part of the Texas A&M System, and four other universities will cay out a five-year study to improve drought and salinity tolerance in five species of grasses for the southern U.S., according to USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which awarded the grant.

The turfgrass grant was among 28 totaling $46 million awarded to programs in 19 states, according to USDA.

“The specialty crop industry plays an enormously important part in American agriculture and is valued at approximately $50 billion every year,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. “These projects will be key to providing specialty crop producers with the information and tools they need to successfully grow, process, and market safe and high-quality products.”

The grant will fund a five-year collaborative project led by Dr. Ambika Chandra, the principal investigator and associate professor of turfgrass breeding and molecular genetics at the Dallas center. Scientists from North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia and University of Florida will also participate in the study.

Dr. Ambika Chandra Awarded $3.8 million grant from USDA (full story)