Dr. David G. Clark, Professor
Horticultural Biotechnology & Genetics
Dr. Clark has built an international reputation among both basic and applied scientists. His academic group is widely recognized as a leading force focusing on the genetic improvement of floral crops. In the basic science arena, his group was the first to produce genetically-engineered plants with ethylene insensitive flowers that last twice as long as normal flowers. Building on that success, his lab has engineered plants to not only produce larger flowers, but also to produce leaves that remain green longer, and to enhance floral fragrance. His work in functional genomics has led to the development of the largest publicly-available DNA sequence database in the world for his model species Petunia. Dr. Clark has expanded his research group to include an applied focus on tropical plants, developing a conventional breeding program for the production of new varieties. In the past decade his Coleus breeding program has released several new varieties of colorful annual bedding plants that are now growing in summer gardens across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia.
UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Program
Most recently, Dr. Clark has assembled a group of interdisciplinary scientists with expertise in human olfactory sensing, food science and human nutrition, plant science, consumer science and business development to develop innovative new ideas and products. The UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Program utilizes the concept of ‘Consumer Assisted Selection’ to first find out what sensory attributes of plants stimulate consumers most, then use that information to develop targets for plant scientists to produce the most successful new fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants of the future.