Brown Fellowship: Daniel Kohlhase

February 12, 2021

Congratulations to our Daniel Kohlhase, PhD candidate with our Dr. Michelle Graham, for being named a Brown Fellow.

Daniel began his research career at Iowa State University with an M.S. degree in Crop Production and Physiology under the guidance of Dr. Micheal Owen. Daniel’s research focused on investigating the genetics and genomics of HPPD herbicide resistance in waterhemp, an agronomically important weed that reduces crop production in soybean and maize. His first project focused on studying the genetic inheritance of HPPD resistance in a waterhemp population discovered in Iowa. His research was published in Plant Science in 2018 and has already earned 13 citations.

From these experiences, Daniel recognized the need for genomic resources in the weed science community and that better understanding of the weed genomics could lead to future crop improvement. Therefore, in his second project, Daniel developed a waterhemp transcriptome, representing every active gene in the waterhemp genome. Sharing the waterhemp transcriptome while demonstrating its utility helped provide a new community resource for future studies of herbicide resistance in crop production. This research was published in BMC Plant Biology in 2019, and in a short time, the manuscript has been accessed over 1500 times and has already been cited five times. Daniel has been invited to speak about this research at several national and international meetings, including the prestigious International Plant and Animal Genome Conference (January 2019), attended by 2000+ scientists worldwide.

In 2017, Daniel began a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding under the guidance of Dr. Michelle Graham. Daniels’s projects are focused on studying tolerance to iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) in soybean. IDC is a global crop production problem, significantly impacting yield. Daniel has designed a Ph.D. project to address deficiencies in crop research and expand his research skills. His first project is using whole genome expression analyses of 18 diverse soybean lines, selected from the soybean germplasm collection, to identify new iron stress tolerance mechanisms that could be used for soybean improvement. His second project combines cutting edge whole genome expression analyses with traditional grafting approaches to identify key signaling components involved in root to shoot iron stress signaling in soybean. His final project couples virus-induced gene silencing with whole genome expression analyses to identify and characterize genes and gene networks conferring iron stress tolerance. All three of these projects have already provided valuable insights into crop stress adaptations and will result in three additional publications and additional speaking invitations.

In addition to conducting research, Daniel has become a leader in the graduate student community at Iowa State University. He served as a senator in the Graduate & Professional Student Senate from 2013 to 2015, representing the Department of Agronomy. He was elected president of the Agronomy Graduate Student Club in 2015 and the Agronomy Fall Seminar Series co-chair in 2019. He has served on several committees for the R.F. Baker Plant Breeding Symposium, recently serving as co-chair for the 2019 symposium. Most recently, Daniel was admitted into the Iowa State University Graduate College Emerging Leader Academy. For the last three years he has participated in a “Girls in Science” event at the Science Center of Iowa.

"Throughout his time at Iowa State University, Daniel has shown a dedication to service and leadership," said Dr. Danny Singh. "These skills are essential for translating research from the lab to improved plant varieties and for improving stakeholder confidence."

Congratulations Daniel!