Grape Breeding and Local Phenotyping Team

Bruce Reisch in the fieldTeam Leader: Bruce Reisch,
Professor, Cornell University
635 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456

Bruce Reisch is a project Co-Director for the VitisGen2 project.  He leads the breeding and local phenotyping team, tests new VitisGen2 technology, and interacts with all team members.


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.

Matthew Clark headshot, holding a bin of grapes
Matthew Clark
, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
1970 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108

Matthew is the leader for the Grape Breeding and Enology Project at the University of Minnesota. For VitisGen2, the Clark lab collects data on traits that can be measured locally, including cluster compactness, berry color, disease and pest resistance, and fruit quality.

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

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


Chin-Feng Hwang
Chin-Feng Hwang, Professor, State Fruit Experiment Station, Missouri State University
9740 Red Spring Road, Mountain Grove, MO 65711

Chin-Feng maintains the vineyard of the Norton x Cabernet Sauvignon and Jaeger 70/Munson x Vignoles populations, manages pests and diseases of the vineyards, collects samples for further genotyping and phenotyping at Cornell, and participates in relevant extension and outreach efforts.

Craig Ledbetter's headshot
Craig Ledbetter, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS CDPG
9611 South Riverbend Ave., Parlier, CA 93648

Craig is a table grape and raisin breeder in central California. His focus is new variety development for fresh and dried fruit quality, as well as developing new cultivars with durable resistances to powdery mildew and Pierce’s disease.


Jason Londo headshot - in front of a beautiful vineyard scene
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.

Rachel Naegele headshot
Rachel Naegele
, Research Horticulturist, USDA-ARS CDPG
9611 South Riverbend Ave., Parlier, CA 93648

Rachel is a table/raisin grape horticulturalist with the USDA-ARS who joined the breeding and fruit quality teams in VitisGen2. In particular, her lab is working to develop a high-throughput imaging system to evaluate cluster architecture and identify molecular markers associated with cluster and fruit quality.


Harlene Hatterman-Valenti headshotHarlene Hatterman-Valenti (collaborator), Professor, North Dakota State University
Loftsgard Hall 470E, Fargo, ND 58108

Harlene’s objectives are to put into action the findings from the first VitisGen project. She and her team have created and planted a population of 98 descendants combining the Run1 and Ren2 genes into hardier backgrounds. They will start creating a second, larger population for marker-assisted back-crossing to pyramid the genes into more favorable backgrounds.

Andrew Walker headshot
Andrew Walker (collaborator)
, Professor, University California-Davis
2152 RMI North Building, Davis, CA 95616

The Walker lab is working to breed wine and table grapes that are resistant to Pierce’s disease and powdery mildew, among other diseases.



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.