Grape Genetics Team

Jason Londo headshot - in front of a beautiful vineyard sceneTeam Leader: Jason Londo, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS GGRU
738 Castle St., Geneva, NY 14456

Jason manages all the different aspects of genetics in this huge project. He oversees the use of amplicon sequencing to develop new markers, genome sequencing to discover new markers, and gene expression to learn how traits are controlled. All of this work is to put more tools in the hands of grapevine breeders so they can reduce the cost and time needed to release new varieties adapted to our changing world.


Lance Cadle-Davidson's headshotLance Cadle-Davidson, Research Plant Pathologist, USDA-ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit
738 Castle St., Geneva, NY 14456

Lance is a project Co-Director, leads the powdery mildew phenotyping team, and serves on the genetics and breeding teams. His role is to provide germplasm, strategies, protocols, and marker technology to make powdery mildew resistance breeding easy, efficient, and effective.


Dario Cantu headshotDario Cantu, Associate Professor, University of California-Davis
2146 RMI – North Building, Davis, CA 95616

Dario is Associate Professor and Louis P. Martini Endowed Chair in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. As member of the VitisGen2 Genetic team, Dario leads the genome assemblies and transcriptome analyses.

Professor Anne Fennell's headshot
Anne Fennell, Professor, South Dakota State University
254b Northern Plains Biostress Laboratory, Brookings, SD 57007

Anne Fennell’s research focuses on grapevine bud dormancy. In particular, she works to identify the genes and pathways that affect cord hardiness, bud dormancy, and chilling requirements.


Peter Schweitzer's headshotPeter Schweitzer, Senior Research Associate, Cornell University
149 Biotechnology Bldg., Ithaca, NY 14853

Peter is the director of the Genomics facility in the Institute of Biotechnology at Cornell University. His lab performs the genotyping/sequencing assays for the VitisGen2 project.


Qi Sun's headshot
Qi Sun, Senior Research Associate, Cornell Bioinformatics Service Unit
618 Rhoades Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853

Qi’s main responsibility is on the computational side, mostly in the development of haplotype references and low cost genotyping methodologies for marker discovery and breeding decisions. Qi’s group also manages databases and cloud computing infrastructure for this project.

Gan-Yuan headshotGan-Yuan Zhong (collaborator), Research Leader, USDA-ARS GGRU
635 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456

Gan-Yuan manages the grape genetic research unit of the USDA at Cornell Agritech, along with developing and using genetic tools to improve grape fruit quality and vine architecture.



Ugo IkeoguUgochukwu “Ugo” Ikeogu, Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell University
635 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456 

Ugo has a dual role in VitisGen2 as Project Manager and as a Post-Doctoral Associate. As project manager, he facilitates communications between the teams, and keeps the project organized and running smoothly. In addition, he has vast experience with genetics and phenotyping.


Avinash Karn's headshot, with giant corn plants in the backgroundAvi Karn, Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell University
738 Castle St., Geneva, NY 14456

Avinash (Avi) is a postdoctoral research scientist in the VitisGen2 project. The theme of his project is in the area of mark-assisted breeding on agro-economic and other important traits such as powdery mildew disease resistance, seedlessness, flower sex, and fruit quality and composition.

Cheng ZouCheng Zou, Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell University
Rhodes Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850

Cheng is working on using bioinformatics tools to assist the grape breeding practice. For example: designing more efficient molecular markers using whole genome de novo assembly, pan-genome graph construction, etc. She is also performing an integrated data-mining of the genetic data that we have collected.

Melanie Massonet's headshotMelanie Massonet, Postdoctoral Associate, UC Davis
2105 Robert Mondavi Institute-North Building, Davis, CA, 95616

Melanie is a postdoctoral associate in Dario Cantu’s lab in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. Melanie is in charge of the genome-wide transcriptional analyses of the breeding populations for powdery mildew resistance gene stacking and wine grape quality.