About Us

These are the UF faculty members who are involved in various aspects of tea research. Click on any team member’s photo to go to that faculty member’s own page.

The TeaSearchers

Brantlee Spakes Richter

Brantlee Spakes Richter
Asst. Professor, Plant Pathology

PI on FDACS and USDA-SARE grants, working on potential disease problems in tea production.

“Saba” Rathinasabapathi

“Saba” Rathinasabapathi
Professor, Horticultural Sciences

Co-PI on FDACS and USDA-SARE grants, working on tea physiology and heat stress.

Diane Rowland

Diane Rowland
Assoc. Professor, Agronomy

Co-PI on USDA-SARE grant, student project team leader, working on nitrogen and water-use efficiency.

Andrew Ogram

Andrew Ogram
Professor, Soil & Water Sciences

Co-PI on USDA-SARE grant, working on soil microbial ecology and nutrient cycling.

Matt Benge

Matt Benge
Asst. Professor, Agricultural Education & Communication

Co-PI on USDA-SARE grant, working on project outreach and evaluation.

Current and Former Student TeaSearchers

James Orrock

James Orrock
PhD Student

Projects: tea varietal testing, heat stress, polyphenols, anthracnose resistance

Matthew Borden

Matthew Borden
MS&DPM Student

Project: Insect surveys on tea and yaupon holly

Kristen Sandsted
Undergrad

Project: tea endophyte identification and pathogen inhibition

Yang Yue
Undergrad

Project: tea tissue culture propagation

Kristen Kempfert
Undergrad

Project: tea endophyte identification