Nebraska team awarded grant to advance plant phenotyping

Sruti Das Choudhury
Plant Vision Initiative research group at UNL, which was founded by Sruti Das Choudhury.
January 31, 2022

Lincoln, Neb. —A University of Nebraska-Lincoln research team has been awarded $50,000 from the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI) to help plant phenotyping research through imaging segmentation. 

The project is one of 11 seed grants awarded by AG2PI to 20 institutions across the country in the second of three rounds of grant competition. Awarded grants help to address genome to phenome issues and develop solutions for research needs and identify gaps as well as sharing opportunities. Project work begins in early 2022 and will run from six to 15 months.  

AG2PI is a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goal of AG2PI is to connect crop and livestock scientists to each other and to those working in data science, statistics, engineering, and social sciences to identify shared problems and collaborate on solutions.  

Das Choudhury, a research assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources with a courtesy appointment in the School of Computing, is the lead Project Investigator for the project, “Event-base Plant Phenotyping Using Deep Learning: Algorithms, Tools and Datasets.” She and the research team intend to establish datasets for plant dynamics through images captured at various angles from plant emergence through several growth stages. The datasets will help them create a tool for plant segmentation, which is a fundamental problem when separating plant images from each other and the background. The created datasets and tools will be shared with others in the plant breeding and genetics community.  

Other researchers working on the project are Ashok Samal, Srindhi Bashyam and Yufeng Ge. 

The Round 2 Seed Grants span three levels of funding: emerging grants, enabling grants, and establishing grants. Award amounts range from $20,000–$75,000, depending on the grant type and associated funding level. 

“The projects awarded in this round of our seed grant program help to broaden the interactions between crop and livestock science, which is necessary to find synergistic relationships,” says Patrick Schnable, AG2PI lead scientist and distinguished professor at Iowa State University.  

“Finding ways to work that transcend boundaries will improve the pace and methodologies for those in plant and animal research communities.” 

The third round of AG2PI seed grants will be awarded in Spring 2022. Information for submitting a proposal for Round 3 is on the website; the deadline for submission is March 8. For more information on this and other grant opportunities, visit https://www.ag2pi.org/seed-grants/

Connect with AG2Pi on TwitterYouTube or LinkedIn by using #ag2pi. 

The AG2PI is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goal of AG2PI is to build communities that address the challenges of genome-to-phenome research across crops and livestock. The AG2PI partners include Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, University of Arizona, University of Idaho, and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

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