Karen Cichy, Ph.D.

Karen Cichy

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USDA-ARS Adjunct Associate Prof. - Dry bean breeding /genetics: seed quality; human nutritional, processing quality and consumer acceptance.
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences



B.S., Horticulture, Penn State University, USA
M.S., Plant Breeding and Genetics, Michigan State University, USA
Ph.D. Plant Breeding and Genetics, Michigan State University, USA

Overview of Current Program:

Dr. Cichy’s research is focused on the genetic characterization of seed traits related to consumer acceptance and nutritional quality of dry beans.  Her research group employs molecular and traditional genetic techniques including diversity analysis, mapping, and gene expression analysis to determine genetic control of seed quality traits.  Some of Dr. Cichy’s current research activities include:

  • Cooking time:  genotypic variability, genetic control and underlying mechanisms, breeding fast cooking dry beans
  • Genetic diversity of seed protein and starch composition
  • Development of improved germplasm with superior end use quality for use as whole cooked and canned beans and as a powder ingredient in products such as pasta.
  • Seed mineral accumulation and bioavailability: diversity studies, mapping, identification of genomic regions and genes, and breeding
  • Improving canning quality, color retention, and anthocyanin levels in black beans
  • Utilization of VIS/NIRS and hyperspectral imaging as a rapid non-destructive phenotyping tool for seed traits.