PMI Team

Mitch Doktycz serves as the Laboratory Research Manager of the Plant-Microbes Interfaces Scientific Focus Area with Dale Pelletier and Timothy Tschaplinski, who serve as the Scientific Co-managers.  Together, they contribute to the overall scientific direction and management of the SFA,  including establishing scientific priorities with clear milestones and deliverables, prioritizing tasks, monitoring progress, allocating resources and workforce, establishing future directions and reporting to the BER program manager at the US Department of Energy (DOE).  The PMI team includes investigators from two research Divisions at ORNL – the Biosciences Division (BSD), and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS). Core collaborators from the University of Washington (Carrie S. Harwood, E. Peter Greenberg, Amy Schaefer), Duke University (Rytas Vilgalys) and the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE-Nancy, France; Francis Martin, Annegret Kohler, Aurélie Deveau, and Claire Veneault-Fourrey) complement the ORNL PMI team. Members of the team are listed below.

Photo of the PMI group

Photo of the 2024 PMI All Hands Meeting


Project Management

Mitch J. Doktycz

ORNL Corporate Fellow and Section Head for Bioimaging and Analytics.

Expertise in biochemistry, molecular and cellular imaging, nanomaterials, synthetic biological systems. Recipient of the R&D 100 Award and National Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

Dale A. Pelletier

Senior Staff Scientist and Group Leader for Integrative Microbiomics.

Expertise in bacterial physiology, microbial biology genomics, microbe-microbe interactions and protein-protein interactions.

Timothy J. Tschaplinski

Distinguished Research Scientist and Section Head for Biodesign and Systems Biology.

A plant molecular physiologist with expertise in metabolite profiling using mass spectrometry for molecular phenotypic characterization of plants and microbes.

Amy Kelley

Project Manager for the Plant-Microbe Interfaces SFA.  A member of Molecular and Cellular Imaging.

Staff Members

Paul E. Abraham

Staff Scientist in Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry. A Bioanalytical Chemist with expertise in biological mass spectrometry and systems-scale modeling of biological networks.

Leah Burdick

Technical Professional in Synthetic Biology.

Jack Cahill

Staff Scientist in Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry with expertise in the development and application of the next generation of techniques for the chemical characterization of complex systems.

Alyssa Carrell

Associate Staff Scientist in Plant Systems Biology.

Jay Chen

Research and Development Staff Scientist and Group Leader for Plant Systems Biology. Plant molecular biology and molecular genetics, plant signal transduction.

Hari Chhetri

Technical Professional in Computational and Predictive Biology. Quantitative/statistical geneticist with interests in complex traits, local adaptation, and genomic selection in plants.

Melissa Cregger

Staff Scientist in Integrative Microbiomics. Ecosystem Ecologist with expertise in Microbial diversity and Microbial community dynamics.

Kuntal De

Technical Professional in Plant Systems Biology.

Ilenne Del Valle Kessra

Staff Scientist in Synthetic Biology. Her focus is in engineering synthetic biology tools.

Omar Demerdash

Staff Scientist in Molecular Biophysics. Omar is developing computational approaches for defining protein structures and molecular interactions that underlie microbiome organization.

Nancy Engle

Master Technician in Plant Systems Biology.

E. Peter Greenberg

Professor of Microbiology, University of Washington. National Academy of Science Member.  Co-recipient of the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine for his work in quorum sensing. His expertise is in sociomicrobiology, quorum sensing systems, biofilm biology, and regulation of virulence genes.

Caroline Harwood

Gerald and Lyn Grinstein Endowed Professor in Microbiology, University of Washington. Member of the National Academy of Sciences, AAAS and American Academy of Microbiology. Procter & Gamble Award recipient in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Her expertises is in metabolic networks, bacterial signaling, and bioenergy production.

Robert Hettich

Distinguished Research Scientist and Group Leader of Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry. His expertise is in biological mass spectrometry and high-performance mass spectrometry.

Dan Jacobson

Chief Scientist in Computational and Predictive Biology.  His expertise is in machine learning, next generation sequencing bioinformatics, and computational biology.  Recipient of the 2018 Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance advanced computing.

Sara Jawdy

Technical Professional in Plant Systems Biology Her expertise is in genetics, systems biology, and molecular biology.

John Lagergren

Associate Staff Scientist in Plant Systems Biology. His research focuses on the development and subsequent application of mathematical, computational, and statistical methods of biological datasets.

JunHyung (Jun) Lee

Technical Professional in Plant Systems Biology.

Udaya Kalluri

Senior Staff Scientist in Plant Systems Biology. Expertise in plant biology, and molecular biology.

Stanton Martin

Data Management Lead Scientist in Computational and Predictive Biology, FAIR Strategic Team Lead, and National Microbiome Data Collaborative. ORNL and Data Management Lead for the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI).

Mac McLennan

Experimental Technologist in Plant Systems Biology. He oversees and helps drive development of the Advanced Plant Phenotyping Laboratory.

Jennifer Morrell-Falvey

Staff Scientist, ORNL and Group Leader of Molecular and Cellular Imaging. Her expertise is in molecular genetics, flourescent imaging, and biofilm mechanisms and cell biology.

Wellington Muchero

Staff Scientist in Plant Systems Biology. His expertise is in plant pathology, molecular genetics, quantitative genetics, and genomics.

Mircea Podar

Distinguished Staff Scientist in Integrative Microbiomics. AAALS member. Microbiologist with expertise in single cell genomics, metagenomics, and evolutionary genomics.

Priya Ranjan

Senior Staff Scientist in Computational and Predictive Biology with expertise in predictive modeling of plant genotype x environment x microbiome interactions and bio-design.

Scott Retterer

Senior Research Staff Scientist and Section Head of the Nanomaterials Synthesis Section at the Center for Nanophase Sciences.  His expertise is in biomedical engineering, nanofabrications, microfluidics, and microscale bacterial cultivation systems.

Tomás Rush

Staff Member in Synthetic Biology. A fungal systems and plant pathologist with expertise in fungal behavior, signaling, secondary metabolism production, and taxonomy through bioinformatics.

Brian Sanders

Staff Scientist in Molecular and Cellular Imaging. Brian’s expertise is in chemistry and biology with interests in metals in biology, metalloenzymes, and development of molecular reporters and small molecule therapeutics.

Christopher Schadt

Senior Staff Scientist in Integrative Microbiomics. A microbial ecologist with expertise in plant-microbe interactions and soil biogeochemistry.

Amy Schaefer

Research Scientist, University of Washington. Her expertise is in quorum-sensing systems.

Erica Teixeira Prates

Research Staff Scientist in Computational and Predictive Biology Group.  Her focus is averaging a variety of computational methods to identify, on a proteome-wide scale, the structure-dynamics relationships underlying function of proteins of interest.


Claire Veneault-Fourrey

French National Institute for Agricultural Research/INRAE, Nancy, France. Her expertise is in molecular plant pathology, molecular biology, and fungal biology.

Rytas Vilgalys

Professor of Biology, Duke University. Expertise in fungal evolutionary genetics, and molecular systematics.


Amber Webb

Technical Professional in Molecular and Cellular Imaging with expertise in molecular genetics and microbiology.

Dave Weston

Staff Scientist in Plant Systems Biology with expertise in molecular plant physiology and computational biology.

Xiaohan Yang

Senior Staff Scientist in Synthetic Biology. His expertise is in plant molecular biology, bioinformatics, computational genomics, and transcriptome sequencing.

Tao Yao

Technical Professional in Plant Systems Biology.

Larry York

Staff Scientist in Molecular and Cellular Imaging. A plant ecophysiologist with expertise in root biology, image-based phenotyping, and gas flux analysis.

Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates

photo of Dileep Kishore

Dileep Kishore

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational and Predictive Biology. Dileep received his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics at Boston University. His research uses KBase as a platform to model microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions and employs these predictions to direct experimental analyses.

Will Argiroff

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Integrative Microbiomics. Will graduated with his PhD from the University of Michigan. His research at ORNL focuses on exploring the processes that control the assembly of the Populus microbiome and its role in determining host stress tolerance

April Armes

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Molecular and Cellular Imaging. April is investigating network connections within constructed microbial communities, focusing on cell-to-cell communication and functional redundancy


Shane Franklin

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Molecular and Cellular Imaging. Shane will be primarily responsible for constructing microfluidic devices to examine microbial community organization in response to physical and chemical constraints.

Mallory Morgan

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational and Predictive Biology. Mallory will be using a systems biology approach to understand genetic mechanisms underlying the Populus trichocarpa microbiome.


Manasa Appidi

PhD Graduate Student, Genome Science and Technology, University of Tennessee. Mentor: Robert Hettich

Anna Furches

PhD Graduate Student, The Bredesen Center, University of Tennessee. Mentor:  Dan Jacobson

Armin Geiger

PhD Graduate Student, The Bredesen Center, University of Tennessee.  Mentor:  Dan Jacobson

Peter Kruse

PhD Graduate Student, The Bredesen Center, University of Tennessee.  Mentor:  Dan Jacobson.

Matthew Lane

PhD Graduate Student, The Bredesen Center, University of Tennessee.  Mentor:  Dan Jacobson

Sameer Mudbhari

Graduate Student, Genome Science and Technology, University of Tennessee. Mentor: Robert Hettich

Sayali Mulay

PhD Graduate Student, at the University of Tennessee, Department of Microbiology. Mentor: Mircea Podar

Gayle Purdy

Graduate Student, Genome Science and Technology, University of Tennessee. Mentor: Jenny Morrell-Falvey


Alex Fisch

Former ORNL Postdoc. Alex is currently working at Exela Pharma Services as a Clinical Research Scientist.

Jamie McBrien

No longer is an Assistant Greenhouse Technician in  Plant Systems Biology ORNL

Yi-Syuan Guo

Post doc at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Jaime Lorenzo Dinglasan

Is now a post-doctoral research associate with the Joint Genome Institute.

Photo of Izaak Miller

John (Izaak) Miller

Izaak has taken a staff position at the University of Tennessee.

Josh Michener

Staff Scientist, Biosciences Division, ORNL.  Member of the Synthetic Biology Group.  Microbiologist and Metabolic Engineer.

Bryan Piatkowski

Researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

Photo of David Kainer

David Kainer

David is now working for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.

Cashman photo

Mikaela Cashman McDevitt

Staff member at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory working on KBase.

Jaclyn Noshay

Data Scientist at Bayer in Computational Genetics

Muneeba Khalid

Senior Scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Rensselaer, New York.

Him Shrestha

Postdoctoral Researcher at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Mindy Clark

Research Operations Support Professional at ORNL.

Jia Wang

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Food Science at University of Tennessee in Knoxville

Kevin Cope

Plant Physiology Scientist II at Bayer Crop Science, Chesterfield, Missouri, United States.

Tae-Hyuk Ahn

Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO.

Jayde Aufrecht

Post-doctoral fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
Recipient of the Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Raghu Ram Badmi

Scientist, Scientific Writer, and Project Manager, Umeå Plant Science Center, Umeå, Västerbotten, Sweden

Aditya Barde

Clinical Laboratory Technologist IV Next Generation Sequencing,  Sema4.
Stamford, CT.

Patricia Blair Saint-Vincent

Associate Staff Member, Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Group, Biosciences Division, ORNL.

Gregory Bonito

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Plant Sciences, Michigan State University.
Bonito Lab:

Steve Brown

Director of New Strain Development, LanzaTech, Skokie, IL.

Anthony Bryan

Technical Director – Molecular Genetics, Biopathology Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus OH.

Posy Busby

Assistant Professor, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Alisha G. Campbell

Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO.

Dana Carper

Technical Professional at Oak Ridge National Labs.  A member of the Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Group and project manager of the Secure Ecosystem Engineering Design SFA.

Jennifer Childers

Research Associate I at Pivot Bio, St. Louis, MO.

Karuna Chourey

Director, Cultivation Research and Operations at Plantible Foods, San Diego, CA.

Stephan Christel

Biosolutions Lead Biohydrometallurgy, Cemvita Factory, Westminster, CO

Ashley Cliff

Computational Biologist currently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Bruna Gonçalves Coutinho

Interim Manager, Process Development, at BioVectra, Inc., Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

W. Nathan Cude

Senior Scientist at Novozymes, North America, Durham, NC.

Olaf Czarnecki

Research Associate at KWS SAAT SE, Einbeck, Germany

Sanjeev Dahal

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University in Canada.  He will be working in Dr. Laurence Yang’s lab developing predictive bacterial metabolic models.

Nicholas Dove

AgBiome, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Kasey Estenson

Medical Director, US Medical Affairs at Eisai US

Benjamin Garcia

Computational Biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

David Garcia

NRC Postdoctoral fellow, US Army DEVCOM, Chemical Biology Center

Hector F. Castro Gonzalez

Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry, University of Tennessee

Cyd Hamilton

Arborist and Plant Doctor, Better Nature Solutions

Michelle Halsted

Operations & Systems Engineer at Mobius, Everett, Washington

Ryan Hansen

Associate Professor at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Piet Jones

Data Scientist at Arva Intelligence.

Se-Ran Jun

Associate Professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, Little Rock, AR.

Jesse Labbé

Associate Director, Invaio Sciences, Cambridge, MA.

Zhou Li

Senior Scientist, Pfizer NY in the Greater NY area.

Hui-Ling (Sunny) Liao

Assistant Professor, Soil Microbial Ecology
North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL.

Brian Looney

Postdoctoral fellow in the David Hibbet Lab at Clark University, Worchester, MA

Haiwei Lu

Biology Professor at Central Community College, Hastings, NE

Anna Matthiadis

Scientist, Technology and Development, Elo Life Systems, Durham, NC.

Ryan McCormick

Research Scientist, Crop Systems Modelingd at DuPont Pioneer 
Johnston, Iowa

Ritesh Mewalal

Senior Research Associate at Berkeley Lab, Berkeley, CA

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Ben Mohr

Lead Cell-Free Scientist, LanzaTech, Skokie, IL

Chongle Pan

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Plant Biology and Computer Science
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.

Marek Piątek

Director of Bioinformatics at Ardigen, Kraków, Poland

Jonathan Plett

Research Fellow at Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Australia

Michael Robeson

Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Department of Biomedical Informatics, Little Rock, AR.

Grace Satterfield

Medical Science Writer/Editor
University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, TN

Peter Shankles

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the lab of Dr. Todd Sulchek at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), Atlanta, GA.

Migun Shakya

Computational Biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM.

Poornima Sukumar

Patent Analyst at Cardinal Intellectual Property, Austin, TX

Yali Sun

Scientist II with Abclonal Technology, Woburn, MA.

Collin Timm

Research Scientist, John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

Sandra Huynh Truong

Research Scientist, Crop Systems Modeling at Corteva Agriscience,

Jessie Uehling

Assistant professor, Fungal Biology in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Sagar Utturkar

Senior Bioinformatics Scientist in the Bioinformatics Core, Purdue University, Lafayette, IN.

Allison Veach

Assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

Sushmitha Vijaya Kumar

Staff Scientist, Roswell Biotechnologies, San Diego, CA.

Manuel Ivan Villalobos Solis

Process Development Scientist, Amgen, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Deborah Weighill

Post-doctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. A member of Dr. Jen’s  Jen Yeh Lab  in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Pope Fellowship Award Recipient.

Qiuming Yao

Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Zhihao Zhang

Associate Professor at China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.