Home UConn College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Undergraduate Academic Programs Cooperative Extension System
UConn logo Department of Plant Science
Search the site:  
Information for Undergraduate Students Graduate Students Professionals Public
Richard J. McAvoy, Professor & Department Head
Experience and Education | Honors and Activities | Patents | Grants | Publications

Applied biotechnology: New cultivars are being developed by introducing unique fusion genes to commercially valuable horticultural crops.

Controlled environment agriculture: Research is directed at understanding the effects of environmental conditions on the growth, development and chemical composition of horticultural crops


2003                Professor (25% research / 75% extension), Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut. 

1994 to 2003   Associate Professor University of Connecticut. 

1988 to 1994   Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut. 

1978 to 1988   Research Associate, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Rutgers University

1976-1978       Manager-Grower, Sugar Run Nursery, Morrow, Ohio



Ph. D. 1988,   Horticulture, Rutgers University

Dissertation “Development of a Management Strategy for a Single Truss Tomato Production System

M. S. 1982,  Horticulture, Rutgers University
B. S. 1976,  Horticulture, Rutgers University


The Alex Luarie Award. Presented July 11, 1999 by the Ohio Florist's Association for the most outstanding research paper published during 1998 in HortScience or the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science titled "Poinsettia bract necrosis is affected by scion/rootstock combinations and arrested by a benzyladenine
spray". Richard McAvoy & Bernard Bible.

Third Place: Graduate Student Poster Competition, American Society for Horticultural Science, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 26, 1997. Usha Rani Palaniswamy*, Richard McAvoy and Bernard Bible. Omega-3-fatty acid concentration in Portulaca oleraceae L. is altered by the source of nitrogen in hydroponic solution.

Service Award. Presented January 18, 1996 by the Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association "In Honor of ... Extraordinary Service to the Greenhouse Growers of the State of Connecticut as ADVISOR to the Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association".

Distinguished Service Award. Presented January 28, 1992 by the Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association "In Recognition of ... Efforts in the Conception and Formation of the Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association".

Top of page

US 5,130,925.  "Apparatus and Method for Economical Continuous, and Predictable Greenhouse Crop Production".  Harry W. Janes, Richard J. McAvoy and Michael S. Giniger.  July 14, 1992.

Richard J. McAvoyY, Mariya Khodakovskaya, and Yi Li. Method and Composition for Increasing Branching and Flowering Response in Plants Through Controlled, Endogenous Cytokinin Regulation. (pending).

Richard J. McAvoyY, Mariya Khodakovskaya, and Yi Li. Method and Composition for Increasing Plant Survival & Viability Under Cold Storage, or Dark and Cold Storage Conditions. US 11/891,026 (pending).

Top of page


Yi Li & Richard McAvoy. Field Evaluation & Refinement of GM-Gene-Deletor Technology. USDA/CSREES Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grant Program $399,940 (2007-2011)

USDA SBIR Phase II Grant Proposal. Partial Saturation Ebb and flow Watering System for a Flooded Floor Greenhouse ($300,000 Geremia Greenhouses Inc, subcontract $25,000 for UConn).

Richard McAvoy. Improving Poinsettia Form & Flowering with Biotechnology. American Floral Endowment. $64,000. for 3 years beginning July 2005.

University of Massachusetts: Tina Smith, Paul Lopes, Douglas Cox, Roy Van Dreische, and Robert Wick

University of Connecticut: Leanne Pundt and Richard McAvoy. SARE Grant: $72,525 Funded May 2005

Developing unique & commercially valuable ornamental plants through genetic engineering.  R. McAvoy, Y. Wu, and Y. Li.  Connecticut Innovations, Inc. Critical technologies funding competition. $173,565 FY 02 & 03.

Top of page


Book Chapters

Li Y. , H. Duan, Y. H. Wu, R. J. McAvoy , Y. Pei, D. Zhao, J. Wurst, Q. Li, K. Luo (2004): Transgenics of Plant Hormones and Their Potential Application in Horticultural Crops. In: Genetically Modified Crops, their Development, Uses, and Risks. Ed. GH Liang and DZ Skinner. Haworth Press, New York. pp. 101-117.

Gent, M.P.N. and McAvoy, R.J.  2000. Plant Growth Retardants in Ornamental Horticulture pp. 89-146 in Plant Growth Regulators in Agriculture and Horticulture: Their role and commercial uses. A. S. Basra, editor.  Food Products Press, New York

Refereed Journal Articles

Xuelian Zheng, Wei Deng, Keming Luo, Hui Duan, Yongqin Chen, Richard McAvoy, Shuiqing Song ,Yan Pei, Yi Li. (2007): The cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter sequence alters the level and patterns of activity of adjacent tissue- and organ-specific gene promoters. Plant Cell Rep.



Keming Luo, Hui Duan, Degang Zhao, Xuelian Zheng, Wei Deng, Yongqin Chen, C. Neal Stewart Jr, Richard McAvoy, Xiangning Jiang, Yanhong Wu, Aigong He, Yan Pei, and Yi Li.  (2007). ‘GM-gene-deletor’: fused loxP-FRT recognition sequences dramatically improve efficiency of FLP or CRE recombinase on transgene excision from pollen and seed of tobacco plants. Plant Biotechnology Journal 5 (2): 263-274.   


Yongqin Chen, Litang Lu, Wei Deng, Xingyu Yang, Richard McAvoy, Degang Zhao, Yan Pei, Keming Luo, Hui Duan, William Smith, Chandra Thammina, Xuelian Zheng, Donna Ellis, Yi Li (2006): In vitro regeneration and Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation of Euonymus alatus. Plant Cell Reports. 25:1043-1051


Duan, H. Y. Li, Y. Pei, W. Deng, M. Luo, Y. Xiao, K. Luo, L. Lu, W. Smith, R. McAvoy, D. Zhao, X. Zheng and C. Thammina (2006): Auxin, Cytokinin and Abscisic Acid: Biosynthetic and Catabolic Genes and Their Potential Applications in Ornamental Crops. Journal of Crop Improvement. 18:347-364.


Li Y., Z. Cheng, W. Smith, D. Ellis, Y. Chen, L. Lu, R. McAvoy, Y. Pei, W. Deng, C. Thammina, X. Zheng, H. Duan, K. Luo and D. Zhao (2006): Problems and Challenges of Invasive Ornamental Plants and Molecular Tools to Control Their Spread. Journal of Crop Improvement. 17:279-300.


Mariya  Khodakovskaya  ×  Degang Zhao × William Smith × Yi Li × ×Richard  McAvoy  (2006). Expression of ipt gene controlled by an ethylene and auxin responsive fragment of the LEACO1 promoter increases flower number in transgenic Nicotiana tabacum. Plant Cell Reports 25:1181-1192.


Khodakovskaya, Mariya, Richard McAvoy, Jeanne Peters, Hao Wu and Yi Li. 2006. Enhanced cold tolerance in transgenic tobacco expressing a chloroplast ω-3 fatty acid desaturase gene under the control of a cold-inducible promoter. Planta 223:1090-1100.


Luo K, Zheng X, Chen Y, Xiao Y, Zhao D, McAvoy R, Pei Y, Li Y. (2006): The maize Knotted1 gene is an effective positive selectable marker gene for Agrobacterium-mediated tobacco transformation.

Plant Cell Rep. 25(5):403-409. Epub 2005 Dec 21. 


Khodakovskaya, Mariya, Yi L1, Jisheng Li, Radomíra Vanková, Jirí Malbeck and Richard McAvoy. 2005. Effects of cor15a-IPT Gene Expression on Leaf Senescence in Transgenic Petunia x hybrida and Dendranthema x grandiflorum. Journal of Experimental Botany 2005 56(414):1165-1175; doi:10.1093/jxb/eri109 pp. 1-11


McAvoy, Richard, Maria Khodakovskaya, Yi Li, Yan Wu, and Song Xue.  2003. Phenotypic Characterization of Petunia Plants Expressing a Indoleacetic Acid (IAA)-lysine Synthetase Transgene Driven by a Shoot Specific Promoter. Acta Horticulturae 625: 379-385.


Palaniswamy, Usha Rani, Richard J. McAvoy, Bernard B. Bible, and James D. Stuart. 2003. Ontogenic Variations of Ascorbic Acid and Phenethyl Isothiocyanate Concentrations in Watercress (Nasturtium officinale R.Br.) Leaves. J. Agric. Food Chemistry. 51:5504-5509.


Palaniswamy, Usha Rani, Richard J. McAvoy and Bernard B. Bible. 2001. Stage of Harvest and Polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acid Concentrations in Purslane (portulaca oleraceae) Leaves. J. Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 49(7):3490-3493.


Palaniswamy, Usha R. and Richard J. McAvoy. 2001. Watercress: A salad crop with chemopreventive potential. HortTechnology 11(4):622-626.


Palaniswamy, Usha Rani, Richard J. McAvoy and Bernard B. Bible. 2001. Omega-3-Fatty Acid Concentration in (Portulaca oleracea) is Altered by photosynthetic photon flux.  J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.  126(5):537-543.


Palaniswamy, Usha Rani, Richard J. McAvoy and Bernard B. Bible. 2000. Omega-3-Fatty Acid Concentration in Portulaca oleracea L. is Altered by Nitrogen Source in Hydroponic Solution.  J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 125(2):190-194.


Top of page


Richard J. McAvoy
Professor & Department Head

Extension Specialist - Greenhouse Crops
University of Connecticut

1390 Storrs Rd., Unit 4163
Department of Plant Science
Agricultural Biotechnology Lab
Storrs, Connecticut 0626

Telephone: (860) 486-0627
fax: (860) 486-0534
email: richard.mcavoy@uconn.edu

About Us | Contact Us | College Alumni and Development | Faculty and Staff