Current Lab Members
Trey Burrell (Part-time Technician 2019-Present)
Trey Burrell grew up in the town of Walhalla, SC. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Natural Resources at Clemson University in 2008. After graduating, Trey began working full time as a farm technician at Clemson’s Musser fruit research station. Trey went back to school part time while working and earned a Master’s degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences. In 2014, Trey accepted a new position working as Dr. Gasic’s technician for the peach breeding program. Trey enjoys bow hunting, gardening, and fishing during his free time. He also is fascinated by extreme weather events and actively monitors weather modeling throughout the year.
Gizem Demirel (Masters Student 2019-Present)
Gizem Demirel is from Turkey. She graduated from Ondokuz Mayis University at Department of Horticulture in Turkey. After her undergraduate studies she kept in contact with her professors and she carried out more research and projects with many fruit species. These studies and her experiences showed her the necessity of education on fruit breeding and motivated her to continue to a Masters education in the United States. With this purpose, Gizem received a scholarship given by Ministry of National Education in Turkey to do Master’s in the United States. After finishing Master’s, Gizem is going to work for Ministry of Agriculture in Turkey. She started her Master education on August 2019 in the Plant and Environmental Science at Clemson University under Dr. Gasic.
Wanfang Fu (Ph.D. Student 2015-Present)
Wanfang Fu is from China. She finished her undergraduate study in Central South University of Forestry and Technology in Changsha, China, and earned her Bachelor of Forestry. In her undergraduate study, she mainly focused on the non-timber forest, which gave her an interest on fruit tree breeding. She followed Dr. Gasic in Clemson University to pursue a Master of Science (thesis) degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences. In her current study, she is working on disease resistance breeding for peaches on brown rot and bacterial spot. Wanfang enjoys her time both in the lab and farm. In her spare time, she likes going to the gym and watching movies.
John Mark Lawton (Lab/Field Technician 2019-Present)
John Mark Lawton was raised in rural Cleveland, SC. He attended Clemson University and graduated with a Horticulture Degree in 2015. After a year of operating his own high intensity organic vegetable operation, he landed a job with Clemson University at the esteemed Musser Fruit Research Center in April of 2017. He assisted in all farm duties including nursery management, data collection and orchard upkeep and was the acting Food Safety Officer. He started working as the Laboratory/Field Technician for Dr. Gasic’s peach breeding program in the spring of 2019. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences studying peach skin disorders. John Mark is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hiking, camping, kayaking, and backpacking. He also enjoys cooking and working in his garden, in his spare time.
Omer Atagul (Masters Student 2020-Present)
Omer Atagul was born in Turkey on Oct 29, 1992. He graduated from Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University Department of Horticulture in 2016. After graduation, he worked as an agricultural engineer in a private company, while keeping in contact with his professors at the university. He encountered an opportunity for a scholarship program supported by the Ministry of National Education of Turkey. He always dreamed of studying abroad when he was a kid, and this scholarship opened the door for a master’s degree in the United States of America, focusing on plant breeding. He started working under Dr. Gasic’s peach breeding program in the spring of 2020. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences studying QTLs mapping on heat requirements related to bloom time. After Clemson, he will return to Turkey and will work on behalf of TAGEM as a plant engineer. In addition to his work life, he is happily married and has a beautiful son. He loves spending time with his family, playing clarinet, reading historical documentaries. His favorite hobbies include hiking and cooking for friends and family.