Nick is Director at the Marucci Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension Center. His research interests
involve the areas of plant breeding, genetics, germplasm evaluation and reproductive plant biology.
A major emphasis of his research program is directed towards broadening the genetic base for the genetic improvement of cranberry and blueberry. Specific areas include germplasm collection and evaluation, interspecific gene transfer, and reproductive biology. Populations of wild Vaccinium species have been collected, and are being maintained. Germplasm is being analyzed for genetic diversity and structure (isozymes and RAPDs), disease and insect resistance, DNA content, fruit biochemistry profiles, and sexual an asexual reproductive characteristics. Another area of interest is interspecific gene transfer through sexual hybridization.
Areas of his research include: polyploid cytogenetics, 2n gametes, chromosome pairing behavior, trait introgression, and gene tagging with RAPDs. Research is also directed at DNA fingerprinting, using RAPDs, to assess genetic diversity and structure in cranberry.
Impacts of his research include:
- Identified A-type proanthocyanidins as E. coli bioactive compounds from cranberry;
- Identified anti-inflammatory bioactivity of cranberry phenolics;
- Developed high yielding cranberry varieties with enhanced fruit chemistry attributes.