Luis M. De Santiago

Dr. David M. Stelly’s Lab

Entrance year: 2015

Hometown: Mercedes, TX

“My research involves leveraging meiotic recombination in allotetraploid cotton in order to introduce favorable agronomic traits into commercial cotton. Commercial cotton has a low genetic diversity so my research involves utilizing the genetic pools from related – but wild – cotton species in order to expand the genetic base of cotton.”

Research Specialties

Bioinformatics and Genomics

Conservation & Population Genetics

Plant Genetics

Why did you choose the Genetics PhD program at A&M?

I became enamored with plants after working with the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana during my M.S. degree. A reoccurring motif at every plant biology conference I attended was the significance of sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices and the basic notion that plants – as a resource – are of paramount importance to societies around the world. The Genetics PhD program at A&M allowed me to smoothly transition from plant biology to genetics and genomics and has allowed me to interface with state of the art resources such as the TIGSS High-Performance Computer Cluster and Molecular Genomics Laboratory.

What is at least one big lesson you have learned in the Genetics graduate program that you think is widely applicable to your future pursuits?

To be more proactive in your endeavors! As students, we often become accustomed to being told how, when, and where to think about our research. I’ve always considered myself an independent individual, but the Genetics program – and particularly working in Dr. David Stelly’s lab – has taught me that you have to be aggressive in pursuing your own success.

Fun Facts:

Fuego or Torchy’s?   

Trick question – Jose’s Restaurant!

Who was your famous role model growing up?   

Bill Nye The Science Guy! Science role models were few and far in-between growing up, so I’m grateful Bill Nye was around to encourage curiosity (and bow ties). ♬♬“BILL BILL BILL BILL!”♬♬