Early Career Scientist Spotlight | Gregory Inzinna

Gregory InzinnaGregory Inzinna is a staff member in the Employee Degree Program at Cornell University. He is working on a Masters degree in Plant Breeding in Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Breeding and Genetics Section. Gregory’s project leader and major professor is Dr. Michael Mazourek. Dr. Anurag Agrawal, a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is also on his committee. Gregory’s hometown is Scotia, NY.

What is the focus of your work?
Plant breeding, plant pathology, genomics, integrated disease management, crop management, and crop economics.

Introduce yourself—your background, where you are now, and your current research focus.
I graduated from SUNY, Geneseo with a BA in Anthropology with a focus on small scale food systems and sustainable development. Currently, I am a Research Support Specialist in Michael Mazourek’s Vegetable Breeding and Genetics Lab focused on Beans, Peas, Peppers, Squash and Cucumbers. I am in the Employee Degree Program going for a Masters in Plant Breeding. My focus is on a novel powdery mildew (Podosphera xanthii) resistance native to Cucurbita moschata. After screening an F2 population, I ran a BSA with resistant and susceptible bulks and have identified a candidate region where the resistance is located. I have developed a set of markers to fine map the region and have a population of resistant F3 and BC1F3 individuals to use for introgressing the resistance into a commercial phenotypes.
Another research focus I am working on is finding resiliant Cucubita maxima accessions from the USDA collection. C. maxima tends to be the most susceptible species of commonly cultivated Cucurbita to insects and diseases. After screening a number of accessions I think there is hope for maxima and hope to introgress these resistance traits into common cultivars.

Why did you choose to work with Cucurbits, plant breeding, plant pathology, genomics, horticulture, agricultural economics or crop production?
After my undergraduate experience, I wanted to get involved in agriculture. I started working as a temporary worker in a few plant breeding labs and found my home in vegetable breeding. Plant breeding utilizes all the diciplines while actively trying to improve the sustainability of agriculture through improved cultivars that can minimize inputs and maximize productivity.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time working on the CucCAP grant, and what do you most look forward to in this position?
I hope to identify resistance genes in Cucurbita and provide the seed and vegetable industry with resistant breeding lines and markers they can use in their work.

What is your favorite crop?

What is your favorite gene or crop trait?
Powdery Mildew (Podosphera xanthii) Resistance