2022 Organizing Committee

Andrew Horgan


Andy is a Ph.D. student in the Horticulture department here at Texas A&M University. He is working with a research group focused on understanding the genetic and physiological processes that regulate fruit firmness, cell wall degradation, and ripening processes in horticultural crops, and how these factors effect flavor, nutrition, and shelf life. Andy received his MS in Crop Science from Washington State University in 2018, and his BS in Plant Sciences from Texas A&M in 2016. Andy hopes to use the knowledge he is gaining to help improve the economic return and nutritional impact of small-scale farming in developing regions.


Khushboo Rastogi

-Vice President-

Khushboo Rastogi is a final year Ph.D. candidate in the Genetics and Genomics Interdisciplinary Program here at Texas A&M. She works in the Crop Genome Editing Lab under the supervision of Dr. Endang Septiningsih. Her research is focused on developing high-lysine rice using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing aiming to address malnutrition problems both in developing and developed nations. Khushboo is also working on different abiotic stresses to identify and validate QTLs for chilling, submergence, and salinity stress with an aim to develop stress-tolerant rice. Prior to joining Texas A&M, she completed her M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Seoul National University, Korea, and B.Tech in Bioinformatics from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, India.


Barbara Rodrigues

-Social Media Lead-

Barbara is a Ph.D. candidate in the Plant Pathology and Microbiology department at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying Arabidopsis endogenous peptides in regulating plants cell death. More specifically she is characterizing cell surface Receptor-like kinases and small peptides recognition. Barbara also has experience with Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in Arabidopsis and Nicotiana benthamiana in order to study functional genomics. Prior to joining A&M, Barbara got her Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and a MS in Genetics and Biochemistry from the Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil.


Mason Clark

-Research Coordinator-

Mason Clark is a Ph.D. student in the interdisciplinary Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on sterol metabolism in plant-feeding insects and physiological adaptations to cholesterol auxotrophy. He is conducting research to investigate genes required in plant sterol dealkylation as well as using CRISPR/Cas9 systems to modify sterol and terpenoid production in cotton. He received his B.S. in Environmental Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Mason worked in quantitative genetics and genome evolution, plant pathology, and vegetable entomology.


Joseph Romanowski

-Research Coordinator II-

Joseph Romanowski is a 2nd-year Genetics and Genomics Ph.D. student in the Dr. Zach Adelman Lab. His research is focused on understanding the DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway in Aedes aegypti to optimize genetic methods of vector control. Joseph also has a special interest in gene-editing tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9, and how they can influence DNA repair outcomes. Prior to Texas A&M, Joseph earned a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Biology at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey. 


Amaka Ifeduba

-Logistics Lead-

Amaka is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Horticultural Sciences, at Texas A&M University. She works as a Research Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Isabel Vales in the Potato Breeding & Variety Development Program. Her research is currently focused on understanding the dynamics of heat tolerance in different Potato varieties with hopes of identifying differentially expressed genes in Heat Tolerant Vs. Heat-sensitive clones. Prior to joining Texas A&M University, Amaka received her MS in Cytogenetics and Plant Breeding in 2021 and her BS in Plant Sciences & Technology in 2016 from the University of Jos, Nigeria. Amaka hopes to use the knowledge she is gaining to contribute to the development of global-warming ready Potato varieties and other food crops to enhance their ability to withstand adverse changes in climate conditions.


Sarah Singleton

-Volunteer Coordinator-

Sarah is a MS student studying Physiology of Reproduction within the Animal Science Department here at Texas A&M. Using cattle as an animal model, her primary project focuses on understanding the paternal genome’s contribution to pregnancy losses, particularly in early pregnancy, and she is working to understand sire genetic predisposition for these losses. Sarah is a Tennessee native, and she received her BS in Animal Science with a concentration in Bioscience from the University of Tennessee—Knoxville in Spring 2021. She has high hopes that her research will contribute to increased reproductive success and economic gain in the cattle industry and that this information may translate into human applications.


Past Committees


Left to Right – Serina Taluja; Khushboo Rastogi; Barbara Rodrigues; Mason Clark; Andrew Horgan; Brendan Mormile
Picture Credit: Beth A McClosky


Left to Right – Brendan Mormile; Emily Boak; Khushboo Rastogi; Aya Bridgeland; Serina Taluja; Jorge Valenzuela-Antelo
Picture Credit: Beth A McClosky


Left to Right – Karina Morales, Brendan Mormile, Emily Boak, Jorge Valenzuela-Antelo
Picture Credit: Beth A McClosky


Left to Right – Karina Morales, Brendan Mormile, Emily Boak
Picture Credit: Beth A McClosky

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