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Use and Analysis of Unbalanced Data Workshop

The North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences and DuPont Pioneer recently collaborated to create and present a short course on the latest plant breeding data analysis tools used by the agricultural industry. The course, titled “Use and Analysis of Unbalanced Data”, took place in Loftsgard Hall on February 14-16, 2017.

March 22, 2017

The North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences and DuPont Pioneer recently collaborated to create and present a short course on the latest plant breeding data analysis tools used by the agricultural industry. The course, titled “Use and Analysis of Unbalanced Data”, took place in Loftsgard Hall on February 14-16, 2017.

NDSU researchers Richard Horsley, Ana Maria Heilman, and Tom Walk worked closely with DuPont Pioneer liaison and Adjunct NDSU Professor Blaine Johnson to create the course. Keith Boldman, Darrin Hauf and Johnson were key speakers for the three-day workshop attended by 36 faculty, graduate students, and staff.

Boldman received a B.S. from Cornell University, a M.S. from the University of California Davis and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Currently, he is a Research Scientist for the Global Breeding and Marker Technologies group at DuPont Pioneer. He previously worked at DEKALB Seed (currently Monsanto Company), and he was an assistant professor of Animal Genetics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During the workshop, Boldman explained the mathematical concepts behind the use of mixed model approaches and its advantages for the analysis of unbalanced data in plant breeding.

Darrin Hauf received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Crop and Weed Sciences and Plant Breeding from NDSU (see www.ag.ndsu.edu/plantsciences/alumni/spotlight/darrin-hauf). He has worked at DuPont Pioneer since 2003, where he currently is a Research Scientist for the Data Science Information group in the company. During the workshop, Hauf presented a seminar for graduate students titled “A Bushel of Experiences at DuPont Pioneer”. He summarized his experiences working for industry and highlighted the attributes private companies are looking for in candidates, while emphasizing factors for a successful career.

Johnson holds a B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska and a M.S. from Oregon State University. Before joining DuPont Pioneer, he taught statistics and quantitative genetics and conducted plant-breeding research in the Department of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska. During the workshop, Johnson presented a lecture on decision-making processes in applied plant breeding programs, highlighting the importance of commonalities between research project level selection decisions and institutional level decisions.

Heilman lectured on best practices for quality assurance and quality control, relational databases and business intelligence/visualizations. Walk covered topics related to databases and database management systems. Heilman and Walk comprise the Large Database Breeding Pipeline Management team in the Department of Plant Sciences at NDSU. For more information, see www.ag.ndsu.edu/plantsciences/news/large-data-managers-join-plant-sciences.

Heilman said, “The workshop was a success because it brought some of the expertise from the industry to academia and showed how things can be done differently to answer specific breeding questions.” She also believes “this is the beginning of a series of workshops that will open new venues of communication and support between industry and academia.”

Source: Ana Maria Heilman, 701-231-6702, ana.heilman.morales@ndsu.edu
Author: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384, karen.hertsgaard@ndsu.edu
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123, kamie.a.beeson@ndsu.edu

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