Dr. Melodi Charles


I am interested in sustainable agriculture and developing new technologies and strategies to improve crop yield in the face of climate change. My research focuses on the effects of light quality on plant growth and development. In collaboration with physicists, engineers, and chemists at NC State and UNC Chapel Hill, I study the growth and development of lettuce under semi-transparent solar devices. These films are wavelength-selective and would allow photosynthetic light to pass through when installed in greenhouses in place of shades. The wavelengths absorbed by the films would be converted into electricity to power the greenhouse. I would like to engineer plants that can grow best under these films, targeting the light response pathways.

A North Carolina native, I studied biological sciences and philosophy at NC State, with minors in genetics and Spanish. After a two-year period when I worked with plants in both academic and industrial settings, I returned to NCSU to pursue a PhD in plant biology.

Saville A, Charles M, Chavan S, Muños M, Gómez-Alpizar L, and Ristaino J. Population Structure of Pseudocercospora fijiensis in Costa Rica Reveals Shared Haplotype Diversity with Southeast Asian Populations. Phytopathology 107(12):1541-1548.