Dr Jodi Scheffler is Lead Scientist of the cotton genetics research group at the USDA Crop Genetics Research Unit, Stoneville, Mississippi USA and adjunct Professor at Mississippi State University. She worked for 12 years in the United Kingdom and Germany, before joining USDA in 2000. At USDA, she has been instrumental in identifying, developing and making available molecular markers for use by the cotton community. Her research focuses on increasing cottonseed use and incorporating traits that will improve host plant resistance (HPR). Internationally, she has worked with a number of research partners developing ultra-early cotton with verticillium wilt resistance and producing cotton leaf curl disease resistant cotton along with diagnostic tests and best management practices to mitigate effects of the disease. More recently, cotton leaf roll dwarf virus (CLRDV) has emerged as a threat to U.S. growers. Using germplasm from many geographic sources, she identified resistant germplasm and developed putative DNA markers to facilitate transferring resistance into elite breeding lines. She has always sought to build teams and seek out collaborators globally who had complimentary expertise so together their research could
Throughout her career she has advised students and mentored the next generation of scientists. She believes in starting early with STEM outreach activities in the schools and job training for high school and undergraduate student interns. Of the 44 students that have worked in her group, 39 have obtained a B.S degree or higher. Dr. Scheffler is active in a number of professional organizations including ICAC and the International Cotton Researchers Association (ICRA). Dr. Scheffler was the recipient of the 2014 National Cotton Genetics Research Award, co-recipient of the 2016 Federal Laboratory Consortium’s Regional STEM Education Award and the 2016 Secretary of Agriculture’s Abraham Lincoln Award.