PhD, Cell and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine
Kristin Bilyeu’s research focuses on improving soybean seed composition for enhanced nutrition for food and animal feeds. The project involves a molecular genetic approach for analysis and modification of soybean seed development and composition. Important gene targets for genetic modification include factors that have an impact on soybean oil and meal quality, such as fatty acid composition and oligosaccharide and phytic acid content. Included are elucidation of gene products and their control through forward and reverse genetics, interactions among themselves and the environment, and variation in expression in plant growth. The approach emphasizes developing molecular genetic and biochemical information to identify and characterize structural and regulatory genes that influence seed composition. The overall goal of the project is to produce research tools, such as molecular markers and improved germplasm, so that new soybean varieties can be efficiently developed and used in the production of healthier food and animal feeds.