Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Ben Long

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Doctoral Student

B.S. in Biology with Minor in Chinese, Georgia Institute of Technology 2019

Research Interests:

Despite the prominent roles coffee and tea play in cultures around the world, there is still much we can learn scientifically from the plants we use to make beverages. My research is focused on yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria): a caffeine-containing, North American native plant used since pre-colonial times to make tea that now shows promise as a more sustainable, domestic alternative to Asian tea and coffee. By using a combination of field studies and molecular techniques, my goal is to track this plant’s genetic variation through geographical distance to learn more about how this plant evolved its unique chemistry and first colonized North America. This work could not only help us develop better varieties of yaupon for making tea, but also shed light on the role of plant defense chemicals like caffeine in shaping plant evolution and their current geographical ranges.

Labs (please indicate whose lab you are a member of):

Major Professor

Norman and Doris Giles Professor

Support Genetics at UGA

Thank you for your support to the Genetics Department and the University of Georgia. Contributions from alumni and friends are critical to maintaining our core missions of teaching and research. Gifts are tax deductible.

Click here to learn more

Every dollar contributed to the department has a direct impact on our students and faculty.