Swaminathan Lab

Research Interest

Genomic solutions to sustainable agriculture

The Swaminathan Lab specializes in annual and perennial grasses, phenotyping and applications of genomics for plant customization and modification. In particular, the lab is interested in using genomics and biotechnology to understand nutrient use, carbon partitioning, and the role of the rhizome in resource reallocation and perenniality in plants. Projects include functional genomics research in sorghum, sugarcane and miscanthus.

The lab is part of the feedstock production research group for the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, to add value to bioenergy grasses, in which biofuels, bioproducts, high-value molecules, and foundation molecules for conversion are synthesized directly in plant stems.

In collaboration with the University of Illinois and Alabama A&M University, the lab is also working to accelerate miscanthus breeding by developing optimized, validated genomic selection tools to enable highly efficient selection of Miscanthus for yield, winter-hardiness, late flowering, and stem composition (quality).

Lab Members


Kankshita Swaminathan, PhD

Faculty Investigator

Morgan Brown

Research Associate I

David Draize

Plant Biotechnologist

Pradeep Hirannaiah, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Brandon James, PhD

Project Manager

With a background in molecular biology computer science, his work is focused on understanding the genes involved flowering time and carbon partitioning in biofuel grasses such as miscanthus, sugarcane and sorghum.


Wren Jenkins


Tina Le

Research Associate

Shilpa Manjunatha

Research Associate II

Joshua Stanley

Intern- Senior at Alabama A&M University

Tony Trieu

Research associate III

Trieu brings his 23 years of expertise in agricultural biotechnology to the group and will lead the effort to develop biotechnology and synthetic biology tools and pipelines in miscanthus and sorghum. These pipelines will primarily be used to understand the role of genes underlying traits of interest for bioenergy in these grasses.

Swaminathan Lab Alumni

Alexa Nolan
Rebekah Wood
Salema Myler
Christina Cooley
Yokshitha Bathula
Mohammad Belaffif
Blake Dietz
Ryan Tillman