Cullen Dixon


Cullen Dixon Profile Picture


Cullen Dixon is from Frackville, Pennsylvania.  A graduate of Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences Cullen attained his degree cum laude in Plant Sciences, Plant Genetics and Biotechnology Option, with a minor in Plant Pathology.  At Penn State, Cullen was extremely active serving as an Ag Advocate, Parliamentarian and Executive Board Member of Ag Student Council, a member of the Agronomy Club, and served as an Executive Board Member of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity. Cullen is a member of the Coaly Honor Society, the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society, and the Tri-Societies Professional Organization. Cullen enjoyed attending football games, playing soccer, and enjoying the nature around Happy Valley.  Cullen also traveled abroad to Ireland to study the Irish Potato Famine and visit the land of his ancestors!

Cullen worked for over 3 years in Dr. Surinder Chopra's Maize Genetics. Chopra fostered and grew Cullen's love of science and provided him the springboard to conduct award winning, published research. Cullen worked in his lab over the summer between his Freshman and Sophomore years as well. Then, he worked for the National Science Foundation in Dr. Imara Perera's Molecular Biology Laboratory at NC State University.  He even got to work on an experiment which had just come back from the International Space Station!  In his final summer Cullen worked for Beck's Superior Hybrids at their Henderson, Kentucky as a Field Research Intern.  At Beck's his interactions with the breeders and geneticists aided Cullen in resolving that he would go on to attain his PhD. in plant genetics.  He is very thankful for all those who have helped him in the past and is excited to embark upon his new adventures. 



BS, Plant Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University 

Long Term Career Interests

Applied Plant Genetics
Plant Breeding
Plant-Incorporated-Protectants (PIPs) and other innate defensive compounds
Plant Growth Optimization through Breeding and Genetics in Free-Fall Environments and/or Extraterrestrial Growth Medias (Plants in Space)

Current Status in TPS

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrea Gschwend
Co-Mentor: Dr. Jay Hollick

First Year Rotations
Dr. Jay Hollick
Dr. Andrea Gschwend
Dr. Leah McHale

Grants & Awards

2020-2021 CFAES Environmental Graduate Research Fellowship
2019-2020 ENGIE-Axium Sustainability Science Fellowship

Kariyat, R. R., Gaffoor, I., Sattar, S., Dixon, C. W., Frock, N., Moen, J., De Moraes, C. M., Mescher, M. C., Thompson, G. A., Chopra, S. (2019). Sorghum 3-Deoxyanthocyanidin Flavonoids Confer Resistance against Corn Leaf Aphid. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 45(5-6), 502–514. doi: 10.1007/s10886-019-01062-8