864-889-0519 chg@clemson.edu


Graduate Student

Email: ztjones@clemson.eduZJ


Originally from Florence, SC, I graduated with a B.S in Biological Sciences from Clemson University in December 2017. During my time as an undergraduate, I was a member of Dr. Todd Campbell’s cotton breeding program at the USDA-ARS and Dr. Wonkeun Park’s molecular genetics lab, developing genetically enhanced cotton utilizing molecular and traditional plant breeding approaches. Following graduation, I worked as a Research Specialist in Dr. Sachin Rustgi’s lab conducting research in molecular plant breeding and fungal and insect pest management. In May of 2022, I began my PhD in Plant and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University under the advisement of Dr. Rustgi and was selected to receive the MacDonald Graduate Fellowship Award. In my free time, I enjoy playing golf and watching Clemson Football.


The overarching goal of my research is to utilize plants to treat human diseases, focusing specifically on immunological conditions such as celiac disease, wheat allergy, and peanut allergy. My research can be divided into two main parts with the first aspect involving deciphering the genetic regulation of immunogenic protein accumulations in seeds using specialized biparental peanut and wheat populations. The second aspect utilizes a two-pronged approach to develop reduced immunogenic peanut and wheat lines through targeted mutagenesis and traditional plant breeding methods which have the potential to be utilized as dietary therapies.


  1. Rustgi S, Alam T, Jones ZT, Brar AK, Kashyap S (2022) Reduced-Immunogenicity Wheat and Peanut Lines for People with Foodborne Disorders. Chemistry Proceedings 10(1), 67.
  2. Rustgi S, Jones Z, Ou X, Liu B (2021) Fine tuning the genetic control of chromosome pairing in polyploid common Annual Wheat Newsletter 67:87-93.
  3. Rustgi S, Kashyap S, Alam T, Kerr R, Jones Z, Naveed S, Shekar PV, Gemini R, Reisenauer P  (2020) Non-immunogenic wheat needed to feed 10% of the US population suffering from wheat-related Annual Wheat Newsletter 66:93-98.