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Last update: May 2021

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Daniela Miller

Daniela Miller
Daniela Miller was awarded the IWGSC and Catherine Feuillet Early Career Award and will receive her award at the Plant & Animal Genome Conference (PAG) in San Diego, California (USA) in January 2023. Daniela also received a travel stipend to allowed her to travel to the PAG conference to present a talk during the IWGSC main workshop on Saturday 14 January 2023.

Daniela is a Ph.D. Candidate in Crop Science at North Carolina State University (USA).


Kellye Eversole, Daniela Miller, Catherine Feuillet and Gina Brown-Guedira

Daniela earned her Master’s Degree in Plant Sciences at the University of Maryland under direction of Dr. Jose Costa studying wheat breeding and flowering time. She then spent a few years working in bacterial genomics at the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition where she worked with library preparation and sequencer operation as part of the GenomeTrakr foodborne pathogen detection and traceback network. She then returned to graduate school to pursue her PhD at North Carolina State University, under the direction of Dr. Gina Brown-Guedira. Daniela is also pursuing a PhD Minor in Statistics.

A few words about your work

My work aims to develop whole genome assembly resources to accelerate breeding methods that honour and cooperate with the unique genomic structure and dynamics of wheat and related Triticeae species. I am working on whole genome assembly and gene annotation in soft red winter wheat, as well as their use in identification of candidate or causal variants for different traits. My PhD research is also focused on studying genetic control of glaucousness in wheat, an epicuticular wax trait that has implications for adaptation and yield, especially in stress environments.

Why did you apply for the IWGSC Early Career Award?

I remember the shared excitement and giddiness in the lab when the first Chinese Spring reference genome was published during my Master’s in Dr. Jose Costa’s lab. Being able to utilize this new resource to accelerate genetic studies gave me a deeper appreciation of genome assembly resources and the impact that they have. I applied for the IWGSC Early Career Award because it was through this work by the IWGSC that I became deeply invested in the field of whole genome assembly, by seeing how valuable it is. This interest drove me to learn about new sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools that are becoming available. I am excited to share how recent advancements in these areas are enabling resolution of complex genomic regions in wheat.

In what way do you think being recipient of the IWGSC Early Career Award could help you in your career?


There is no doubt that this award will help open doors in my future career. I am immensely grateful to the IWGSC for this opportunity and recognition. I am particularly excited that the opportunity to attend and speak at PAG will help facilitate meeting other researchers working in this nascent field of wheat genome assembly. Being able to share our successes and failures will help guide my future research and hopefully we can work together to make the wheat genome more accessible than ever before. 


What are your career plans?

In my future career, I aspire to work alongside public breeders as a computational biologist helping with the assembly and application of genomic resources. After graduation, I would love to continue doing whole genome assembly in wheat. I have enjoyed tackling some of the technical challenges we’ve faced and think it would feel somewhat anticlimactic to switch to a smaller genome. Plus, I find the introgression and evolutionary dynamics among the Triticeae tribe particularly fascinating.   

More information

Danial’s presentation at PAG will take place during the IWGSC workshop on Saturday 14 January 2023 (8:00am to 10:10am)

Her talk is entitled ‘High-Fidelity Long-Read Sequencing Enables Rapid Detection of Structural and Copy Number Variants: A Case Study in Soft Winter Wheat”