Dr. Leah McHale

Leah McHale
Dr. Leah McHale
321B Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43210


PhD, Plant Biology, University of California-Davis
BS, Horticulture, Pennsylvania State University
Plant breeding, genetics & genomics; disease resistance; grain quality; soybean, lettuce, and chile pepper
Research emphasis
Research in the McHale lab focuses on the characterization and manipulation of natural variation occurring in crop plants, primarily soybean and chile peppers. Specifically, the research program is involved in the identification of genes conferring disease resistance, yield, and quality traits and, in soybean, examining how best to integrate these alleles for the development of improved varieties. To accomplish this, new technologies and a cross-disciplinary approach are exploited, which includes genetics and genomics, evolution, bioinformatics, and plant pathology. Particular interests are the study of breeding methodologies, disease resistance, domestication and agronomic traits for both the development of improved cultivars and evolutionary and molecular plant-pest interactions studies.
Teaching responsibilities
  • Plant Genetics (HCS 4325), 3 credit spring semester undergraduate course, co-taught with Dr. David Mackey.
  • Plant Breeding and Biotechnology (HCS 7625), 3 credit autumn semester graduate course, co-taught with Dr. John Finer.
  • Methods in Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS 7806), 1 credit graduate course, taught spring of alternate years. Topics have included ‘Multimedia Communication’ and ‘Bioinformatic Analysis of eQTL Data.’
  • Current topics in Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS 8830), 1 credit graduate course, taught spring of alternate years. Topics have included ‘Molecular Basis for Domestication’ and ‘Genetic Analysis of Quantitative Resistance.’

Recent Publications (Last 5 years, for full list see Google Scholar

Rolling W, Lake R, Dorrance AE, McHale LK (2020) Genome-wide association analyses of quantitative disease resistance in diverse sets of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] plant introductions. PLOS ONE 15(3): e0227710.

Anderson EJ, Ali ML, Beavis WD, Chen P, Clemente TE, Diers BW, Graef GL, Grassini P, Hyten DL, McHale LK, Nelson RL, Parrot WA, Patil GB, Stupar RW, Tilmon KJ (2019) Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] Breeding: History, Improvement, Production and Future Opportunities. In: Al-Khayri J, Jain S, Johnson D (eds) Advances in Plant Breeding Strategies: Legumes. Springer, Cham

Million CR, Wijeratne S, Cassone BJ, Lee S, Mian R, McHale LK, Dorrance AE (2019) Hybrid genome assembly aids characterization and identification of candidate genes in a major quantitative disease resistance locus towards Fusarium graminearum in soybean. doi: 10.3835/plantgenome2018.12.0102.

Huang M, Balimponya EG, Mgonja EM, McHale LK, Luzi-Kihupi A, Wang GL, Sneller CH (2019) Use of genomic selection in breeding rice (Oryza sativa L.) for resistance to rice blast (Magnaporthe oryzae). Molecular Breeding 39: 114.

Karhoff S, Lee S, Mian MAR, Ralston TI, Niblack TL, Dorrance AE, McHale LK (2019) Phenotypic characterization of a major quantitative disease resistance locus for partial resistance to Phytophthora sojae. Crop Science. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2018.08.0514.

Lee S*, Van K*, Sung M, Nelson R, LaMantia J, McHale LK, Mian MAR (2019) Genome-wide association study of seed protein, oil and amino acid contents in soybean from maturity groups I to IV. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. doi: 10.1007/s00122-019-03304-5.

Scott K, Balk C, Veney D, McHale L, Dorrance A (2019) Quantitative disease resistance loci towards Phyophthora sojae and three species of Pythium in size soybean nested association mapping populations. Crop Science. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2018.09.0573.

Taitano N, Bernau V, Jardón‐Barbolla L, Leckie B, Mazourek M, Mercer K, McHale L, Michel A, Baumler D, Kantar M, van der Knaap E (2019) Genome‐wide genotyping of a novel Mexican chile pepper collection illuminates the history of landrace differentiation after Capsicum annuum L. domestication. Evolutionary Applications. 12: 78-92.

Zhang N, McHale LK, Finer JJ (2019) Changes to the core and flanking sequences of G‐box elements lead to increases and decreases in gene expression in both native and synthetic soybean promoters. Plant biotechnology journal. 17: 724-735.

Diers BW, Specht J, Rainey KM, Cregan P, Song Q, Ramasubramanian V, Graef G, Nelson R, Schapaugh W, Wang D, Shannon G, McHale L, Kantartzi S, Xavier A, Mian R, Stupar RM, Michno J-M, An Y-QC, Goettel W, Ward R, Fox C, Lipka AE, Hyten D, Cary T, Beavis WD (2018) Genetic architecture of soybean yield and agronomic traits. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. doi: 10.1534/g3.118.200332.

Pérez-Alquicira J, van der Knaap E, Mercer K, McHale L, Mitchel T, Luna Ruiz J, Texocotitla-Vázquez E, Vargas-Ponce O, Michel A (2018) Genetic structure of Liriomyza trifolii (Diptera: Agromyzidae) associated with host plants from southeastern Mexico. Environmental Entomology. doi: 10-1093/ee/nvy184.

Xavier A, Jarquin D, Howard R, Ramasubramanian V, Specht JE, Graef GL, Beavis WD, Diers BW, Song Q, Cregan P, Nelson R, Mian R, Shannon JG, McHale L, Wang D, Schapaugh W, Lorenz AJ, Xu S, Muir W, Rainey KM (2018) Genome-wide analysis of grain yield stability and environmental interactions in a multiparental soybean population. G3: Genes, Genomics, Genetics. 8: 519-529.

Lee S, Jun T-H, McHale LK, Michel AP, Dorrance AE, Mian MAR (2017) Registration of the Wyandot × PI 567301B soybean recombinant inbred line population. Journal of Plant Registrations. doi: 10.3198/jpr2016.09.0042crmp.

McClure T, Cocuron JC, Osmark V, McHale L, Alonso AP (2017) Impact of environment on the biomass composition of soybean (Glycine max) seeds. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b01457.

Mian MAR, Zenglu L, Boerma HR, McHale L, Dorrance A (2017) Registration of ‘Highpro1’ soybean with high protein and high yield developed from a north x south cross. Journal of Plant Registrations. 11(1):51-54.

Van K, McHale LK (2017) Meta-analyses of QTLs associated with protein and oil contents and compositions in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] seed. International Journal of Molecular Science. 18:1180.

Gunadi A, Rushton PJ, McHale LK, Gutek A, Finer JJ (2016) Characterization of 40 soybean (Glycine max) promoters, isolated from across 5 thematic gene groups. Plant Cell, Tissue & Organ Culture. 127: 145-160.

Mian MAR, McHale LK, Michel AP, Dorrance AE (2016) Registration of ‘Wyandot-14’ Soybean with resistance to soybean aphid and powdery mildew. Journal of Plant Registrations. 10: 246-250.

Parra L, Maisonneuve B, Schut J, Christopoulou M, Jeuken M, McHale L, Truco M-J, Crute I, Michelmore R (2016) Rationalization of genes for resistance to Bremia lactucae in lettuce. Euphytica. 210: 309-326.

Schneider R, Rolling W, Song Q, Cregan P, Dorrance AE, McHale LK (2016) Genome-wide association mapping of partial resistance to Phytophthora sojae in soybean plant introductions from the Republic of Korea. BMC Genomics. 17:607.

Stasko A, Wickramasinghe D, Nauth B, Acharya B, Ellis M, Taylor C, McHale L, Dorrance A (2016) High density mapping of resistance QTL towards Phytophthora sojae, Pythium irregulare, and Fusarium graminearum in the same soybean population. Crop Science. 56: 1-17.

Zhang N, McHale LK, Finer JJ (2016) A leader intron of a soybean elongation factor 1A (eEF1A) gene interacts with proximal promoter elements to regulate gene expression in synthetic promoters. PloS one. 11:e0166074.

Acharya B*, Lee S*, Mian MAR, Jun T-H, McHale LK, Michel AP, Dorrance AE (2015) Identification and mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL) conferring resistance to Fusarium graminearum from soybean PI 567301B. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 128: 827-838.

Benzle KA, Finer KR, Marty DM, McHale LK, Goodner BW, Taylor CG, Finer JJ (2015) Isolation and characterization of novel Agrobacterium strains for soybean and sunflower transformation. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture. 121: 71-81.

Christopuolou M*, McHale LK*, Kozik A, Reyes-Chin Wo S, Wroblewski T, Michelmore RW (2015) Dissection of two complex clusters of resistance genes in lettuce (Lactuca sativa). Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 28: 751-765.

Christopoulou M, Reyes-Chin Wo S, Kozik A, McHale LK, Truco M-J, Wroblewski T, Michelmore RW (2015) Genome-wide architecture of disease resistance genes in lettuce. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. 5: 2655-2669.

Fallen BD, Allen FL, Kopsell DA, Saxton AM, McHale L, Shannon JG, Kantartzi SK, Cardinal AJ, Cregan PB, Hyten DL. Pantalone VR (2015) Selective genotyping for marker assisted selection strategies for soybean yield improvement. Plant Genetics, Genomics, and Biotechnology. 2: 95-119.

King JL, Finer JJ, McHale LK (2015) Development and optimization of agroinfiltration for soybean. Plant Cell Reports. 34: 133-140.

Lee S, Freewalt KR, McHale LK, Song Q, Jun T-H, Michel AP, Dorrance AE, Mian MAR (2015) A high-resolution genetic linkage map of soybean based on 357 recombinant inbred lines genotyped with BARCSoySNP6K. Molecular Breeding. 35: 58.

Zhang N, McHale LK, Finer JJ (2015) Isolation and characterization of “GmScream” promoters that regulate highly expressing soybean (Glycine max Merr.) genes. Plant Science. 241: 189-198.