Karen Cichy is a Research Plant Geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.
She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences Department at Michigan State University. Dr. Cichy holds a BS degree in Horticulture from Penn State University and MS and PhD degrees in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Michigan State University. She works on dry bean breeding and genetics. Dry beans are a nutrient dense food and Dr. Cichy’s primary goal is to increase consumption of beans by addressing consumer acceptance via improvements to nutritional and culinary quality traits. Her work is relevant to regions where beans are a dietary staple, such as Eastern and Southern Africa, and to regions where beans are not quite a staple, but increased consumption would benefit consumers’ health, such as the U.S. Some of Dr. Cichy’s research activities include: Breeding fast cooking dry beans and understanding the genotypic variability, genetic control and underlying mechanisms of cooking time. Developing germplasm with superior end use quality for use as whole cooked and canned beans and as a powder ingredient in products such as pasta. Understanding seed mineral accumulation and bioavailability, including diversity studies, mapping, identification of genomic regions and genes, and breeding. Applying VIS/NIRS and hyperspectral imaging as a rapid non-destructive phenotyping tool for seed traits.