Jeff received a Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He was co-advised by Drs. G.R. Buss and M.A. Saghai Maroof in the Department of Crop and Soil Science. His dissertation was entitled “Microsatellite polymorphism, orthologous evolution and molecular marker analysis of seed quality traits in soybean (Glycine max L. Merr).
Jeff worked for five years at the Monsanto Company as a Project Lead for Technology Development and then as Director of their High Throughput Genotyping Laboratory in Ankeny, IA. While at Monsanto he was awarded an Over and Beyond Award - Outstanding Project Implementation (2001). He moved to BYU in 2002 as an Associate Professor and was promoted to full Professor of Molecular Genetics in 2011. He has been awarded with the Thomas L. Martin Professorship (2014), College of Life Sciences, Outstanding Teaching Award (2011), and the John A. Widtsoe University Fellowship (2008) in recognition of research that enhances the quality of life and contributes to the solution of pressing world problem. He currently serves on the editorial board for the Botanical Society of America’s Applications in Plant Sciences. He has an established research program with funding from numerous sources including USDA, NSF, McKnight Foundation as well as several private corporations and independent donors. He has published > 60 refereed journal articles and book chapters and serves as an International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA) missions expert for food, agriculture and biotechnology.
Research InterestsDr. Maughan's research is primarily focused on development of genomic tools for accelerated breeding of orphaned crops. These crops (quinoa, amaranth, oca, etc.) were food staples among the ancient civilization of Central and South America (Tiwanaku, Inca, Maya and Aztec). Archeological remains have been identified that date to 4,000 BC (Valley of Tehuacan, Mexico). These grain species remain important as a food crops in several areas of modern Latin America and have recently received substantial attention as an alternative food crop, especially in light of their tolerance to abiotic stress (drought and salinity). Among the favorable characteristics of quinoa and amaranth are the quality and quantity of protein in the seed. The seed protein is exceptionally high in lysine (generally the first limiting amino acid in the cereal grains) with an amino acid composition that compares favorable with FAO/WHO standards. Lysine is the most limiting essential amino acid for billions of poor in the developing world where over dependence on cereals results in Kwashiorkor disease, a protein (l-lysine) deficiency, which is especially severe in poor children. Historically, a healthy plant based diet has been achieved through the consumption of diverse plant species.
Teaching InterestsGenetics, Genomics, Plant Transformation and Molecular Breeding
- PhD, Molecular Genetics , Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1994)
- MS, Agronomy , Brigham Young University (1991)
- BS, Agronomy , Brigham Young University (1990)
Honors and Awards
- Missions expert for food, agriculture and biotechnology, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (2011 - Present)
- Leo and Barbara Robertson Endowed Professorship in Genetics Award, College of Life Sciences (2022 - 2025)
- Excellence in Research Award, College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University (2018 - 2019)
- Excellence in Teaching Award, Plant and Wildlife Sciences Department, Brigham Young University (2018 - 2019)
- Karl G Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award, Brigham Young University (2018 - 2019)
- Thomas L. Martin Professorship, Brigham Young University (2014 - 2014)
- Outstanding Teaching Award , College of Life Sciences (2011 - 2011)
- John A. Widtsoe Fellowship, Brigham Young University (2008 - 2009)
- Over and Beyond Award, Monsanto (2001 - 2001)
- Botanical Society of America (2012 - Present)
- Crop Science Society of America (2002 - Present)
- Other, American Journal of Botany - Applications in Plant Sciences (2012 - Present)
- Other, International Atomic Energy Agency (2018 - 2018)
- Grant Proposal Reviewer, External, National Science Foundation (2015 - 2015)