|Dr. Dirk Hays earned his Bachelor's in biochemistry from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Calgary. Currently Dr. Hays is an Associate Professor in the department of soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M University. He is the major advisor for 14 current graduate students (3 M.S, 11 Ph.D., 4 are from India, 1 Nepal). His research interest focuses on molecular and physiological wheat breeding with specific interest in using molecular breeding to improve the physiological and biochemical adaptation of wheat to drought and heat stress. He also has ongoing research using genetics to optimize wheat quality for nutritional quality and specific wheat products such as Mexican tortillas, naan, and flat breads. Dr. Hays was the Chair Molecular and Environment Plant Sciences at the Texas A&M University. He also worked as geneticist from 1997-2001, with the USDA, ARS, GMPRC, Manhattan, Kansas, USA. His work has been published in various journals over the years: "Genetic loci linking improved heat tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to lower leaf and spike temperatures under controlled conditions", Euphytica, 2011; "Quantitative loci regulating yield maintenance under reproductive stage heat stress in wheat." Euphytica, 2010; Use of Near-Isogenic Wheat Lines to Determine Glutenin Composition and Functionality in Flour Tortillas", Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2008; "Heat stress induced ethylene during early grain development induces kernel abortion and early desiccation in a susceptible cultivar", Plant Science, 2007. |
The objective of Dr. Hays Fulbright research is to define the importance of the unique cuticle layers, their varied composition, and regulating genetic loci in wheat in the context of high yield and quality stability during heat stress. As part of this research, Dr. Hays will collaborate with Dr. N. Barma (Bangledesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) at Gazipur, Bangledesh), and Dr. A. Joshi, (CIMMYT, Nepal and Banaras Hindu University, India) and his faculty collaborators at Banaras Hindu University. The collaboration is an effort to improve heat tolerance in wheat.