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Harvey Ballard, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Environmental and Plant Biology 
Porter Hall 406


Education:  Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996


Research Interest:  Plant Systematics and Evolution

The collective research in our lab encompasses many diverse aspects of plant organismal biology including traditional systematics, phylogenetics, molecular ecology, population genetics and conservation genetics. Some of us also delve into more interdisciplinary investigations concerning species formation, hybridization and polyploid evolution. I collaborate actively with Dr. Sarah Wyatt on the molecular genetic basis of the chasmogamous-cleistogamous mixed breeding system in Viola.

The element that unites most of our research efforts is the use of comparative molecular evidence to answer organism- or lineage-level questions. For research questions we employ plastid and nuclear gene regions such as DNA sequences, ISSRs (Inter-Simple Sequence Repeats) and microsatellites.

More recently I have been working with various collaborators on using "next gen" sequencing to isolate microsatellite loci in wild species of violets and other groups, and to develop novel ways to use this new approach in examining polyploid species formation through possible homoeologous recombination, as well as examining later-generation hybrid processes such as introgression or meiotic segregation.