“It’s on all sides. The pollen is all over you. It’s total immersion research.”

Natalia-de-Leon-Profile-072414 by Matt Wisniewski

Photos by Matt Wisniewski.

UW Associate Agronomy Professor Natalia De-Leon is profiled in an article by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center discussing her research in mapping the genetic characteristics of corn.

Natalia and her team spend long hours every growing season manually pollinating and mapping acres of corn in order to track genetic characteristics among different strains.

“When you drive along the highway, you see corn and it all looks the same, but actually corn has a lot of genetic variability,” de Leon explains. “You’ve got different plant heights, kernel colors, cob colors, different compositions, different qualities of grain, and different sizes of cob, and the list goes on.”

The GLBRC performs research on converting biomass to ethanol and other biofuels. For more information, visit https://www.glbrc.org/.