Dr. Emma Locke (B.S., Horticulture, ‘04, M.S., Horticulture, ‘06) is a Vegetable Breeder with DP Seeds, LLC (Yuma, AZ) working in Cheraw near La Junta, CO. Her current priorities are downy mildew resistant cucumbers and long-day storage onions with good resistance to pink root (Phoma terrestris) and onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) deterrence.
While at CSU, Emma worked in Dr. Cecil Stushnoff’s lab, which fostered interest in natural products and plant stress physiology, in addition to her floriculture concentration. After receiving her M.S., she completed a Ph.D. in Floriculture with a Graduate Minor in Biotechnology at North Carolina State University, with research focusing on which carbohydrates extend vase life in cut roses most, and how light and temperature during production affect carbohydrate stores and vase life in cut lilies and sunflowers. An additional research project explored the relationship of starch content with ethylene sensitivity in cut lilies. She then did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster focusing on characterizing transcript abundance of the ASR (Abscisic Stress Ripening) transcription factor during drought, salt, and freezing in Petunia and creating constitutive ASR overexpressing transgenic petunias.
In 2012, Emma changed career paths to become a vegetable breeder in the private sector, joining DP Seeds as its first breeder. She loves overcoming the challenges of breeding onions and cucumbers, which are considered two of the more difficult crops, due to the necessity of maintaining male sterility and the biennial nature of onions, and gynocious sex expression and parthenocarpy in cucumbers.
Emma enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, learning about nature and history, and side kicking with her rancher friend. She lives in a house in the middle of nowhere, ¼ mile off the road, with her dog, three cats (one of them is blind), chickens, and guineas.
Emma is honored to serve as a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.