Larry York


Ph.D. Ecology, Pennsylvania State University, USA, 2014

B.S. Biology, University of Kentucky, USA, 2006


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Nottingham, UK, 2014 –

Graduate Fellow and Assistant, Pennsylvania State University, USA, 2008 – 2014

Research Summary

My work focuses on root phene (elemental unit of phenotype) discovery and linking phene to function in the field using cereal crops including maize, wheat, and barley. A large component of my research involves conceptual development that promotes clarity in communication, interdisciplinary collaborations, and synthesis of concepts. My current work focuses on the ERC FUTUREROOTS project, especially:

  • Identifying root phenes in wheat and barley
  • Developing a root phenotyping platform for wheat in the field
  • Developing X-ray computed tomography as a viable root phenotyping platform that is non-destructive
  • Linking root phenes in wheat to both water and nitrogen acquisition efficiency in the field and with simulations

I am also exploring other uses for X-ray computed tomography, such as studying root-water relations. My research with maize has demonstrated evolution of root system architecture and anatomy towards phene states efficient for nitrogen acquisition efficiency. An intensive root phenotyping platform demonstrated variation in root phenes among maize root nodes, relations between the number of nodes and nodal root number, and additive integration of phenes from older and younger whorls that explained 70% of the variation in shoot mass in low nitrogen soil. I am continuing development of field-based phenotyping for maize root systems that is suitable for use by breeders.