Dr. David G. Clark
Professor / Horticultural Biotechnology & Genetics
I am a Professor of Horticultural Biotechnology & Genetics in the Environmental Horticulture Department at UF-IFAS. I joined the faculty in June 1995 following completion of a doctoral degree in Horticulture from the Pennsylvania State University. With a background in physiology, genetics, and molecular biology of flowering crops, I was hired to develop a new biotechnology program for floriculture crops to bridge the gap between the basic and applied sciences and teach in my areas of expertise. I also teach the course ORH1030 Plant Gardening & You, a class open to all majors on campus focused on curing plant blindness.
Formerly my lab conducted research in basic plant molecular biology with a focus on functional genomics and gene function analysis, developing the tools necessary to both genetically engineer and conventionally breed better ornamental plants.
More recently, I have moved my research program toward a more applied focus on tropical and sub-tropical plants, developing a conventional breeding program for the production of new cultivars. Since 2006, my Coleus Breeding Program has released over 110 new varieties of colorful annual bedding plants that are now growing in summer gardens across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Using royalties generated from the coleus program, I have now expanded our breeding efforts into other crops including disease-resistant culinary basil, hardy hibiscus and kenaf.
I teach the course ORH1030 Plant Gardening & You, a class open to all majors on campus. This course is designed to teach students an appreciation for how plants influence their daily lives, and to connect students to internship and job opportunities in the plant industry. I teach students how to grow garden plants and have provided over 100,000 plants to UF students since 2008. Enrollment in ORH1030 has grown to over 500 students each year, and now 90% of all students bring a friend to class at least one day each semester. As a result, ORH1030 has become an important recruiting tool for attracting students into the field of Plant Science
- Ph.D. Horticulture, Penn State University, 1994
- M.S. Horticulture, Clemson University, 1990
- B.S. Horticulture, University of Tennessee, 1988