Our group is part of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and we are closely affiliated with the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. We have lab-specific research interests but also contribute bioinformatic and design support for many ARS projects across the Southeastern United States. Please contact us with questions, particularly if you are looking for graduate or postdoctoral experience that intersects crop improvement, genomics, and bioinformatics.

Open Positions

Postdoctoral researcher in the pangenomics of deleterious crop alleles

A two-year fully funded position with possibility of extension. Experimental materials and sequencing data in hand to interrogate the effect of structural gene disruption on basic plant vigor. Scientist will learn emerging bioinformatic techniques in graph-based genetics/genomics and genomic selection.

Postdoctoral researcher in graph-based genotyping and genetic analysis of polyploids

A two-year fully funded position with possibility of extension. Numerous high-quality genome sequences in hand to begin exploring the challenge presented by paralogous sub-genomes in a polyploid and possible solutions enabled by graph-based bioinformatics. The researcher will also be encouraged to explore visualization techniques for genomics in a pangenomic context.

Postdoctoral researcher in the genomics of pollinator biology

A two-year fully funded position with possibility of extension. In collaboration with the USDA’s Honey Bee Lab, this position will focus on the genomics of both domesticated bees and Apis genus as a whole.

Current group

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Justin Vaughn, Principal Investigator Andrew Ontano, Postdoctoral Researcher Brian Abernathy, Bioinformatician


Iterative QTL-seq applied to multi-genic traits in peanut and rice Historical genomics of complex traits in soybean and rice Gene Sieve: Fully exploiting model systems for gene identification
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Gene annotation and effect prediction in pan-genomic context Simulation and visualization of controlled crosses Fast-forward genetics in sorghum and peach
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Google Scholar summary


PanPipes Graph-enabled genotyping in a comparative genomics framework

Crossword A genomics-enabled simulation language for design and optimization of breeding schemes and genetic mapping experiments

QTLsurge Software for iterative genotyping design in a QTL-seq experiment


Using Galaxy on Ceres

Former Members

Xuewen Wang, Research Associate (now at Center for Human Identification)

Brian Nadon, Postdoctoral Research Associate (now at Thermo Fisher Scientific)

Walid Korani, Postdoctoral Research Associate (now at HudsonAlpha)

The Basic Idea

by Waylon Vaughn