Charlie Brummer

Charlie Brummer

Position Title
Director and Professor, Center for Plant Breeding
PSEC Member At-Large

  • Faculty
1234 PES
UC Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis CA 95616


Ph.D., University of Georgia; Agronomy / Plant breeding
M.S., University of Georgia; Agronomy / Plant breeding
B.S., Pennsylvania State University; Agronomy (honors and high distinction)

Research interests and expertise: 

My research program focuses on developing cultivars and germplasm of alfalfa, tall fescue, spinach, and wild rice. My research has focused primarily on investigating ways to improve yield, from traditional breeding method enhancements to the use of molecular markers. My current research projects include improving yield through the use of high density, genome-wide SNP markers to implement genomic selection. We are also using QTL mapping to understand the causes of autumn-induced dormancy in alfalfa, so that additional fall yield can be produced without sacrificing needed levels of winter hardiness. In addition, I have a small program to improve the productivity of wild rice in California and am beginning a program to develop broad spectrum downy mildew resistance in spinach.

Current projects: 

  • Improving alfalfa yield by modulating autumn dormancy ñ NIFA-Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
  • Developing regionally-adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools ñ NIFA-Alfalfa and Forage Research Program
  • An experiential learning-based public plant breeding pipeline for organic cultivar development ñ NIFA-Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
  • Training New Plant Breeding Leaders for a Changing World ñ NIFA-National Needs Graduate Fellowship
  • Maximizing alfalfaís yield potential ñ National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance-US Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative
  • Developing new alfalfa cultivars for California ñ California Crop Improvement Association
  • Breeding Baby Leaf Spinach for California Growers ñ California Leafy Greens Research Program
  • Breeding Wild Rice for Enhanced Production in California ñ California Wild Rice Research Board

Current teaching: 

  • Forage Crop Production; PLS 112 (winter quarter)
  • Advanced Plant Breeding; PLS 222 (spring quarter)
  • Organic Plant Breeding (SCOPE) Seminar; PLS 290 (fall, winter, spring quarters)

External activities that contribute to scholarship:

  • Past President, Crop Science Society of America
  • Associate Editor, The Plant Genome

Prizes, Awards, Honors

  • Elected Fellow of AAAs Section on Agriculture, Food and Renewable Resources, 2017
  • Fellow, Crop Science Society of America

Google Scholar



Social media links: 

Keywords related to your work:

  • Plant breeding
  • Forage crops
  • Alfalfa
  • Spinach
  • Wild rice
  • Selection
  • Molecular breeding
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Tall fescue