Introducing Jillian Turbeville, Researcher

a woman with long hair wearing glasses and a red shirt

Hello everyone, my name is Jillian Turbeville and I am a new Researcher with the Turfgrass Science team. I only started in June and have already been involved with various turfgrass projects. I am excited to be furthering my plant research experience and to improve my understanding of turfgrass genetics at the University of Minnesota.

I recently graduated this past spring from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls with my bachelor’s degree in Professional Horticulture and a minor in Biotechnology. While working on my undergraduate degree, I found a passion in plant genetics and increased my knowledge by engaging in a variety of research experiences. I interned at Bailey Nursery Innovations in 2020 and collected data for the development of new Hydrangea arborescens varieties. Working with the trial and breeding program here, I took part in a large-scale hydrangea selection process that was specifically bred for the Minnesota climate.

I got the fantastic opportunity last year to intern at the University of Minnesota, where I was introduced to the turfgrass team and loved it so much I had to come back. During that time, I conducted over 1,000 chlorophyll extractions and collected quantitative data on hard fescue samples for shade tolerance research. My inputs helped in the selection process of hard fescue genotypes that perform well under foliar shade; furthermore, these selected genotypes were used in the breeding program for improved hard fescue shade tolerance. I believe that my previous experiences will be valuable here in my new position to continue to bring amazing results in turfgrass research.

Currently this summer, I have been working on turf research in drought studies, rhizome growth in correlation with photoperiods, and work with flow cytometry. The work being done here feels rewarding as we work together to better understand turf for any individual from home lawn owners to golf course superintendents. As I continue building my research experience, I hope to join a graduate program with the UMN in the future. On a more informal note, outside of work you could find me enjoying plants in a different setting. I enjoy hiking and sightseeing around my new home in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Visiting the local community garden, a cute cafe, and a thrift shop make for the perfect day for me.

I am looking forward to working with the turfgrass team to grow my knowledge and help facilitate impactful research, while also helping to create new ideas and conversations about turfgrass in plant science. I know many great memories and friendships will be made as I begin my career here.