Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Andrew Funk is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology program. He earned his B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Science and his M.S in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida. He spent three years doing molecular and genetic research for a strawberry breeding program at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD before returning to Michigan State for his PhD. His research interests in the McGrath lab focus on understanding the genetic basis for traits of interest, using genetic, genomic, and molecular data. He is currently exploring a new reference genome of sugar beet, identifying sequences related to disease resistance and comparing them across diverse material to generate tools for crop improvement. His teaching philosophy seeks to challenge students assumptions about their values, goals, and efforts in a way that helps them become life-long learners. He hopes this approach will facilitate student development of robust critical thinking and reasoning skills and a sense of intrinsic self-worth that will serve them their whole lives.