M. A. Saghai-Maroof



Ph.D., Genetics, University of California, Davis, 1981

B.S., Agriculture, University of Tabriz, 1975


1995 - Present - Professor, Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

1998 - 2001 - Editorial Board - Molecular Breeding Journal

1996 - 2001 - Editorial Board - Theoretical and Applied Genetics

1989 - Associate Professor, Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

1986 - Project Leader, Molecular Genetics, Research Department, ICI Seeds, Slater, Iowa

1983  - Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Genetics, University of California, Davis

1982 -  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis

1981  - Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis

Link to curriculum vita

Courses Taught

  • CSES 5844 - Plant Genomics

Other Teaching and Advising

  • Advising undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
  • Member of the Departmental Research and Graduate Studies Committee, Interdepartmental Plant Sciences Ph.D. Program, and the campus-wide Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology Graduate Program.

Program Focus  

The goal of our interdisciplinary research program is crop improvement through the use of molecular markers and the emerging genomics and bioinformatics tools. Our focus is on soybean genetics and genomics with an emphasis on

  • Investigation of the genetic basis of host resistance to Soybean mosaic virus and Phytophthora sojae (root/stem rot) diseases
  • Identification, discovery, characterization and deployment of genes controlling soybean seed quality and composition traits including phytic acid, carbohydrate and protein content. These projects are facilitated with the use of genome sequence information from soybean and its pathogens. Our findings are addressing agricultural and environmental sustainability issues as well as facilitating development of value-added soybeans for animal feed and human food through marker-assisted selection and molecular breeding programs.

Role of Graduate Students

Our research projects have been funded by NSF, USDA/NRI, USDA/NIFA, industrial sector and various commodity boards. These projects provide opportunities for training undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. My graduate students conduct original and independent research involving laboratory, field and greenhouse experiments using the tools of genomics and bioinformatics. They interact with project collaborators via conference calls and work group meetings, prepare reports and publish their experimental results in scientific journals. They also actively participate in teaching by serving as teaching assistants for various courses and by training of undergraduate students.


Dr. Saghai-Maroof
  • (540) 231-9791
  • smaroof@vt.edu
  • 220 Ag Quad Lane
    501 Latham Hall
    Blacksburg, Virginia