U. Uzay Sezen

Research Biologist
Smithsonian Institution
Email: sezenu@si.edu
Phone: 860-287-6398

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

Forest ecology, Tree genetics, Tree genomics, Transcriptomics, Population genetics, Gene flow, Differential gene expression, Comparative genomics.

View U. Uzay's CV

Biographical Sketch

Uzay Sezen earned his doctorate degree from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of the University of Connecticut in 2008. He studied tropical forest regeneration and gene flow in a Costa Rican lowland rainforest.

He worked as a research scientist in Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory of the University of Georgia and is currently continuing his work in Plant Computational Genomics Laboratory at UConn, Quantitative Forest Ecology Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) at Edgewater, MD and Swenson Lab at the University of Maryland. His recent project involves monitoring of differential gene expression patterns in five forest tree species at SERC and Harvard Forest employing RNA-seq method.

Other Research

Dr. Sezen has revealed gene flow patterns in a post-Columbian invasive tetraploid hybrid weed Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) on a continental scale during his research in Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory  of UGA. Using microsatellite markers he reconstructed blank slate colonization of north America across 12 states. He also worked on plant domestication and introgression of desired traits from Johnsongrass into backcrossed hybrids of domesticated sorghum including the mapping and characterization of the non-shattering seed gene encoding a mutated WRKY transcription factor. Non-shattering phenotype is the first character in most domesticated plants selected by ancestral humans enabling efficient harvesting.

He took part in the NSF-funded PineRefSeq project  during his research at the  Plant Computational Genomics Laboratory. He annotated non-model plant transcriptomes, quantified differential gene expression, identified genes under selection and did comparative transcriptomics among multiple conifer species. He participated in sugar pine and douglas-fir mega-genome projects by characterizing secondary metabolism and specialized photosynthetic light harvesting genes.

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