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Graduate Student
Department of Plant Biology

Robert Mattera

Robert is currently pursuing his Ph.D in plant breeding and genetics with a focus on developing modern molecular tools to aid traditional breeding. His main focus is understanding the underlying genetics of basil downy mildew (Peronospora belbahrii) resistance, aromatic volatiles and chilling tolerance in sweet and Thai basils (Ocimum basilicum). Development of novel genetic tools to address trait heritability, linkage mapping, QTL identification and more is another major aspect of his project. Additional goals include the development and commercialization of stable downy mildew resistant sweet and Thai basils with enhanced chilling tolerance and superior aroma and flavor.

Robert comes to the Simon lab with experience in population genetics and taxonomy of flowering and Japanese dogwoods, popular ornamental trees in North America and some parts of Europe. He completed his master’s dissertation in the Molnar lab where he used novel microsatellite markers to genotype a germplasm collection of over 350 different accessions. Additionally, he formalized the botanical names of two hybrid species developed by Dr. Elwin Orton at Rutgers.


Robert can be contacted at: