Atena Haghighattalab

As the CFANS Phenomics Lead, Atena will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the needs of plant scientists, emerging engineering technologies, and relevant informatics capacity at UMN; survey peer institutions worldwide; develop a model for delivery of phenomics resources through a core facility; create opportunities for public-private partnerships in the phenomics space; and generate a funding model for sustainable operation of a core phenomics facility.

Skilled in remote sensing, GIS, high throughput phenotyping, and big data analysis, Atena applies her knowledge and expertise to a wide range of application.  In 2006 she received her undergraduate degree in survey engineering (geomatics) and in 2011, she completed her master’s degree in department of photogrammetry and remote sensing engineering, working on post-earthquake road damage assessment using remote sensing technologies and geographic informatic science (GIS). She has published multiple papers on genetics Algorithm and neural networks. Atena started her Ph.D. in 2011 at Kansas State University working on deforestation hotspot prediction in Brazilian Amazon, and later worked as an applied research associate at RoboFlight where she started working on UAV application in agriculture, civil engineering, mining, and other areas. In 2015, she started working at Wheat Genetic Lab under Dr. Jesse Poland’s advisory. Her research area focused on high-throughput phenotyping of large wheat breeding nurseries using unmanned aerial systems, remote sensing, and GIS techniques. Atena has traveled and lived in CIMMYT, Obregon, Mexico in summer of 2015, and 2016, where she worked on CIMMYT’s mega-environments, and developing a pipeline for analyzing aerial imagery captured using small unmanned aerial vehicles. She has worked on yield prediction modeling using UAS and phenomics data. She has also developed an R package to use the spatial data from aerial imagery to adjust spatial variation in the field.

A native of Iran, Atena is an active yogi and an avid theatergoer. She enjoys hiking and traveling. Administratively, Atena is a member of the SBC team and will work very closely with UMCAP scientists, CFANS and University leaders, and industry partners. 


Ph.D. Geography - Remote Sensing
M.S. Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Engineering
B.S. Civil Engineering - Geomatics - Surveying

CFANS Phenomics Lead Atena Haghighattalab
CFANS Phenomics Lead