Dr. Cristiane Pilon joined the Crop and Soil Sciences Department of the University of Georgia in 2017 as a Row Crop Physiologist. She is based on the Tifton Campus and has a split appointment of 75% Research and 25% Extension.
Originally from Brazil, Cristiane completed her B.S. degree in Agriculture and her M.S. in Crop Science from the Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil. Her passion for plant physiology started during her M.S., where she studied the photosynthetic process and activity of antioxidant enzymes from the defense pathway of potato plants under drought stress conditions. In 2012, she moved to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. in Crop Physiology from the University of Arkansas. Cristiane studied different physiological and metabolic responses of cotton genotypes to water-deficit stress during reproductive development. Upon completion of her Ph.D., she worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at USDA-ARS in Fayetteville, AR for 18 months until she was hired at UGA.
Currently, Cristiane serves as the Peanut Physiologist and is part of the UGA Peanut Team. Georgia is the major peanut producing state of the U.S., therefore strategies to improve crop production and mitigate effects from biotic and abiotic stresses are consistently being studied. Her research is focused on assessing physiological and metabolic mechanisms utilized by peanut plants as response to drought conditions as well as disease incidence. Additionally, Cristiane is developing the acquisition pattern of physiological quality in peanut seeds under optimal and drought conditions during development. She is also providing assistance on the development of an irrigation scheduling strategy for the peanut crop aiming optimal plant physiological activity and final yield. These areas of study have allowed her to collaborate with scientists at national and international levels, including the University of Georgia, Clemson University, Auburn University, and ARS-USDA as well as UNESP, UNOESTE, and EMBRAPA in Brazil.
Cristiane provides Extension assistance on peanut physiology through agent trainings, field days, and county production meetings. She also serves on the committee for the Georgia Peanut Tour, which is an annual event with latest information from production to utilization of peanuts as well as research being developed at UGA and the National Peanut Laboratory (USDA/ARS). Additionally, Cristiane has published multiple peer-reviewed papers and served in different capacities in professional societies, including the American Peanut Research and Education Society (APRES) and Crop Science Society of America (CSSA).