Second Round of Genome-to-Phenome Research Grants in Agriculture


Ames, Iowa The Genome to Farm Phenome Initiative has awarded 11 grants to institutions across the country for projects that help advance multidisciplinary research in crop and livestock genetics.

“The second round of grants awarded to the AG2PI project will expand the interactions between agricultural and livestock sciences, which is a major goal of our initiative. Finding synergistic relationships between plant and animal scientists will improve the pace and methodologies of both research communities,” said Patrick Schnable, AG2PI Principal Scientist and Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University. “I would also like to thank Seed Grants Committee Chair Jennifer Clarke of the University of Nebraska and the rest of her committee for their success in creating this grant program.”

The Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative is a three-year project funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture. AG2PI’s goal is to connect agriculture and livestock scientists with each other and with those working in data science, statistics, engineering and social sciences to identify common problems and collaborate on solutions.

This is the second of three rounds of AG2PI seed grants planned for the project. These seed grants help address genome-to-phenome challenges, develop solutions for research needs, and identify gaps that could be filled by sharing solutions across the realms.

One of the new grants this round will support a project led by Iowa State University, “Harnessing Agricultural Genomics Data to Link Genotype to Phenotype.” The principal investigator of the project is James Koltes, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science, working at Iowa State with Chris Tuggle, professor of animal science; and with Peter Harrison, Genome Analysis Team Leader at the European Institute of Bioinformatics; and graduate student Alenka Hafner, Pennsylvania State University.

The Iowa State project aims to encourage communication between the plant and animal research communities to solve data sharing and reuse issues. It will begin with a workshop for experts in functional genomic data from plants and animals. The objectives of the workshop are to identify and prioritize shared needs for data reuse tools that link genotype to phenotype, tools that can integrate different types of data, and to glean new knowledge in functional genomics.

The scholarships for this cycle cover three levels:

  • Emerging grants, which expand interactions and synergies between communities and types of organizations

  • Enabling grants, which expand the scope of an existing project or further develop it

  • Establish grants, which support AG2P’s enduring research and engagement.

Awards range from $20,000 to $75,000, depending on the grant level. The projects will last from six to 15 months.

Other projects and teams receiving AG2PI Round 2 seed grants include:

Emerging Grants, with funding up to $20,000:

  • Democratizing Access to Artificial Intelligence Solutions for Underrepresented and Non-Expert Communities: Joao Dorea and Tiago Bresolin, University of Wisconsin

  • Developing a Cost-Effective Method for Collecting Population-Level Informative Molecular Phenotypes in Cattle: Troy Rowan, Jon Beever, Kurt Lamour, and Liesel Schneider, University of Tennessee

  • Developing a Novel Machine Learning Tool for Better Genomic Selection in Non-Model Systems: James Polashock and Joseph Kawash, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Abdollah Dehzangi, Rutgers University

  • Sharing high throughput plant phenotyping data based on unoccupied aerial system via public cloud: Jinha Jung, Purdue University; Zhou Zhang, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Alison Derbenwick, Oracle for Research

  • GPS collars for managing large production systems: Andrew Hess, Scott Huber, and Robert Washington-Allen, University of Nevada-Reno; Mike Cox, Nevada Department of Wildlife

  • Interspecific Genomic Analysis of Photosystem II: Establishing Links Between Molecular Structure and Phenotype: Carmela Rosaria Guadagno, University of Wyoming; Marilyn Gunner, City College of New York

  • Community engagement to improve standards and integration of model and non-model plant genotype, phenotype, and environmental data: Irene Cobo-Simon and Jill Wegrzyn, University of Connecticut; Margaret Staton, University of Tennessee

Enabling Grants, with funding up to $50,000:

  • Creation of a database designed to promote the welfare of dairy cows using non-invasive phenotypic indicators of heat stress: Courtney Daigle and Scott Crawford, Texas A&M University; Brenda Murdoch, University of Idaho; Barbara Jones, Tarleton State University

  • Event-Based Plant Phenotyping Using Deep Learning: Algorithms, Tools, and Datasets: Sruti Das Choudhury, Ashok Samal, Srinidhi Bashyam, and Yufeng Ge, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Creation of grants, with funding up to $75,000:

  • Impact of Breed Type on Cattle Production and Sustainability: Kara Thornton and Sulaiman Matarneh, Utah State University; Brenda Murdoch, University of Idaho; Gordon Murdoch, Washington State University.

The third and final round of AG2PI Seed Grants will be awarded in Spring 2022. Information for submitting a proposal for Round 3 can be found on the AG2PI website; the deadline for submission is March 8. For more information on this and other grant opportunities, visit the webpage:

AG2PI is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture. AG2PI’s goal is to build communities that address the challenges of genome-to-phenome research in crops and livestock. AG2PI partners include Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, University of Arizona, University of Idaho, and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

Website: Twitter: @AG2PI YouTube: @AG2PI LinkedIn: #ag2pi


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