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Welcome to the Ashrafi Lab

About Us

Come explore our multidisciplinary research group, where we utilize traditional and modern plant breeding techniques with comparative genomics and quantitative genetics, all aimed at breeding superior blueberries!

Our mission? To uncover the molecular foundations behind the intricate traits of cultivated and wild blueberries, using the latest sequencing technologies to decode the genomes and transcriptomes of various Vaccinium species.

Our research canvas spans a diverse array of topics, from the intricate dance of plant-microbe interactions to the relentless pursuit of insect and virus resistance. We delve into the secrets of fruit development and ripening processes, as well as the critical factors that influence fruit firmness, enabling efficient mechanical harvest. To decode the genetic mysteries behind these traits, we employ a combination of map-based and candidate gene strategies, with the ultimate aim of identifying and cloning the genes responsible for these remarkable attributes.

Our roots run deep, tracing back to an enduring program that began approximately 70 years ago at NCSU. Today, our primary breeding endeavors unfold at our research station in Castle Hayne, NC, and at the Ideal Tract farm, just a stone’s throw from HCRS-CH. Inside the greenhouses of HCRS-CH and the Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Laboratory Greenhouse, we meticulously carry out controlled crosses. The resulting progenies find their first home in flats, nurturing them until they are robust enough to be transplanted into small pots and eventually the open field. For the molecular aspects of our work, you’ll find our state-of-the-art breeding laboratory in Kilgore Hall, on the northern campus of Raleigh, NC, where we harness the power of marker-assisted selection and sequence analyses.

Meet the PI, Dr. Hudson Ashrafi

Dr. Hudson Ashrafi


234 Kilgore Hall

Dr. Ashrafi brings a wealth of knowledge and international experience to his role. He holds a PhD in Genetics from Pennsylvania State University, PA, along with an MS in Plant Breeding from Azad University in Tehran, Iran, and a BS in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from the University of Technology in Esfahan, Iran. His expertise encompasses a wide range of plant breeding techniques, including traditional methods, cutting-edge molecular breeding through marker-assisted selection, genetic mapping, QTL analysis, and the fields of bioinformatics and statistical genomics. In his capacity as an assistant professor specializing in blueberry breeding, Dr. Ashrafi is deeply committed to leveraging his skills and expertise to enhance the quality of blueberries through innovative research and breeding practices.

Teaching Courses:

HS 422: Small Fruit Production (Offered in Spring only, Every other even year, 3 credits)

HS 708: Application of Genomics to Plant Breeding (Offered in Fall only, Every other odd year, 1 credit)