Dr. Trigiano

I came to the University of Tennessee as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. In that capacity, I worked on non-zygotic embryogenesis of orchardgrass, a forage grass. At the time, most grass species could not be regenerated in tissue culture, but along with colleagues, we perfected the non-zygotic embryogenic system from leaves. I joined the Department of Ornamental Horticulture in 1987 and worked on dogwoods, redbuds, chrysanthemums, and other plant species as well as dogwood pathogens. I worked on these projects until I joined The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in 2001. Currently, I am a UTIA Institute Professor and a UTK Chancellor’s Professor working on genomics, population genetics, propagation of endangered plants, diseases of ornamentals, and molecular marker systems for various plants and pathogens. I am also the Associate Director of the Weed Diagnostic Center and the Editor-in-Chief of Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

Research Focus

Our research focuses on several projects including the following: Haplotyping Cornus species and Redbud (Cercis canadensis); Genetics of powdery mildew resistance/susceptibility in Cornus species; Genetics of color expression in Cornus florida and C. kousa; Development of propagation systems for endangered plants (Whorled sunflower and Ruth’s Golden Aster); Breeding and pollinator biology of various ornamental plants; Development of molecular markers to assess genetic diversity and populations of various plants and pathogens; and diseases of ornamental plants.

Robert N. Trigiano

Chancellor’s Professor
EPP main office (865) 974-7135
fax (865) 974-4744

374 Plant Biotechnology Building
2505 EJ Chapman Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4560

B.S., Biology and Chemistry (Program of Emphasis), Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA (1975)
M.S. Biology (Mycology), The Pennsylvania State University (1977)
Ph.D. Botany and Plant Pathology (Dual Majors), North Carolina State University (1983)

professional appointment
96% Research, 4% Teaching

Graduate program concentrations
Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management Systems

Areas of expertise
Mycology including Oomycetes, Ornamental Biotechnology and Plant Pathology, Molecular Markers of Plants and Pathogens, Biotechnology of Plants

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Current lab members

  • Sarah Boggess, Research/Lab Coordinator
  • Marcin Nowicki, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor
  • Michelle Odoi, Ph.D. Student
  • Zaklina Pavlovic, Ph.D. Student

Selected Publications

M. Xu, Q. Gao, M. Jiang, W. Wang, J. Hu, X. Chang, D. Liu, Y. Liang, Y. Jiang, F. Chen, C. Li, H. Huang , F. Chen, F. Li, R.N. Trigiano, J. Wang, C. Jiao, X. Zhou, L.Zhang. 2022. A novel genome sequence of Jasminum sambac helps uncover the molecular mechanism underlying the accumulation of jasmonates. Journal of Experimental Botany.  https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erac464

W. C. Wong, H. J. Tung, M. Nurul Fadhilah, F. Midot, S. Y. L. Lau, L. Melling, S. Astari, Đ. Hadziabdic, R. N. Trigiano, Y. K. Goh & K. J. Goh (2022) Evidence for high gene flow, nonrandom mating, and genetic bottlenecks of Ganoderma boninense infecting oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, Mycologia, 114:6, 947-963, DOI: 10.1080/00275514.2022.2118512