Welcome to the Team Dr. Justin G. A. Whitehill!

— Written By Kristin Wing

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Justin G. A. Whitehill to the NC State Extension Forestry Team!

Justin in the NCSU bookstore last January during my return trip to the university

Justin in the NCSU bookstore

Dr. Whitehill is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, and is the Christmas Tree Genetics Program Lead and Co-Director of the Forest Biotechnology Group. Justin says, “I’m excited and extremely grateful to be joining the faculty at NC State University! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect position that aligns with my personal and professional interests and goals. I look forward to working closely with North Carolina’s Christmas Tree growers and stakeholders to provide academic support to improve Christmas Tree production in the state.”

Justin is joining our team from Vancouver, British Columbia where he spent time as a research associate in the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia. Recently, he worked with the British Columbia Ministry of Forests where he was the Coastal Forest Health Research Scientist and supported the provincial Sitka spruce and western red cedar breeding programs. He has degrees in plant science, ecology, and molecular biology from Otterbein University, and received a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology with a specialization in plant molecular biology and biotechnology from The Ohio State University.

with a Sitka spruce tree at Sandcut Beach, on Vancouver Island near Victoria, British Columbia in August 2020

Justin with a Sitka spruce tree at Sandcut Beach, on Vancouver Island near Victoria, BC in August 2020

Justin is already hitting the ground running here at NC State! He says, “my goal is to directly address the challenges facing North Carolina’s Christmas tree growers. I hope to provide direct support to this $100 mil industry through the CTG research program. I plan to address these challenges through the application of a modern genomics tool kit combined with traditional tree breeding strategies that develop long-term, stable solutions through improved genetic materials. Dr. John Frampton developed a world-class Christmas Tree Genetics program here at NC State University. I look forward to carrying on that tradition and legacy into the future.”

Justin’s office will be in Partners II, and you can reach him at (919-515-5851) or jwhiteh2@ncsu.edu Please welcome him to the CNR family!