People: Faculty

Jared Ali

Assistant Professor of Entomology
Behavior and chemical ecology of multi-trophic interactions, including plant responses to below-ground herbivory and nematode. Insect community ecology, chemical ecology, and coevolution. Trophic cascades, above- and below-ground interactions,…

Charles Anderson

Associate Professor of Biology

In vivo imaging of plant cell wall dynamics. Molecular genetic analysis of genes involved in cell growth. Cell wall biosynthesis in dividing cells. Cell wall engineering for sustainable bioenergy production.

Sarah Assmann

Waller Professor of Biology

Molecular biology of plant G-proteins and kinases. Phytohormone regulation of signal transduction and RNA processing. Second messenger regulation of ion channels in plant cells.

Michael Axtell

Professor of Biology

Discovery and characterization of plant microRNAs and siRNAs. Functions of microRNAs and siRNAs in the evolution of plant development. Genomics and bioinformatics of microRNAs, siRNAs, and their targets

Robert Berghage

Associate Professor of Plant Science

Environmental plant physiology. Controlled and modified environments for plant growth. Eco-roofs, rooftop greening, and other uses of plants in distributed stormwater management systems.

Philip Bevilacqua

Co-Director, Center for RNA Molecular Biology; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Roles of RNA-binding proteins in plant physiology. Plant ribonomics. Identification and characterization of functional RNAs in plants.

Kathleen Brown

Professor of Plant Stress Biology

Regulation of root development. Root responses to edaphic stress. Identification and genetic mapping of traits for adaptation to edaphic stress.

Nicole Brown

Associate Professor of Wood Chemistry

Adhesives, wood composites, cellulosic materials, and bacterial cellulose. Polymer science. Chemistry of wood biopolymers, and other chemical treatments of wood.

Donald Bryant

Ernest C. Pollard Professor of Biotechnology; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Photosynthesis, structure-function relationships of proteins, gene regulation, and microbial physiology. Cyanobacteria and green sulfur bacteria. Genomics of photosynthetic bacteria.

Carolee Bull

Director of the Microbiome Center; Professor of Plant Pathology; Bacterial Systematics Head, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Bacterial systematics, epidemiology, and population biology of bacterial plant pathogens and biological control agents to develop alternatives to synthetic chemicals for plant disease management

John Carlson

Professor of Molecular Genetics; Director, Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics

Genome mapping, including genetic linkage mapping, molecular cytogenetics; studies of genetic diversity in forests.

Jeffrey Catchmark

Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Cellulose synthesis and organization, cellulosic composites and coatings, microbial cellulose production, and chemically powered microfluidic and biological devices and sensors.

Surinder Chopra

Professor of Maize Genetics

Regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis during plant development and plant-pathogen interaction. Epigenetic regulation and allele specific patterns.

Erin Connolly

Professor and Head of Plant Science

Molecular mechanisms of micronutrient transport. Iron uptake and compartmentalization. Metal ion homeostasis

Daniel Cosgrove

Eberly Chair and Professor of Biology

Mechanism of plant growth. Function and evolution of expansins. Biochemistry and rheology of plant cell walls. Growth responses to light, hormones, and water stress and other stimuli.

Wayne Curtis

Professor of Chemical Engineering

Regulation and signal transduction in plant secondary metabolism. Phytoremediation of hydrocarbons. Commercial chemical production in plants and plant tissue culture.

Claude dePamphilis

Professor of Biology
Genomics, bioinformatics, and molecular evolution. Origin and diversification of flowers and developmental pathways. Comparative genomics of plants, organelles, and plant gene families. Genomics, evolution, and functional biology of parasitic…

David Eissenstat

Professor of Woody Plant Physiology

Plant physiological ecology. Root biology and physiology. Plant carbon and nutrient economies.

Gary Felton

Professor and Department Head of Entomology

Plant-herbivore interactions. Adaptive responses of herbivores to plant defenses. Herbivore cues recognized by plants with specific focus on biochemical and molecular analysis of salivary secretions.

Majid Foolad

Professor of Plant Genetics
Genetic characterization of resistance/tolerance to biotic/abiotic stresses, and genes/QTLs contributing to tomato fruit quality. Investigation of genes/QTLs for directed crop improvement and germplasm enhancement. Tomato cultivar development &…

John Golbeck

Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Light reactions in photosynthesis. Structure and function of photosystem I and the heliobacterial reaction center. Regulation and bioassembly of iron-sulfur clusters in cyanobacteria and plants. Plant and bacterial metalloproteins. Generation using…

Ying Gu

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Mechanism of cellulose biosynthesis in higher plants. Genetic modification of plant cell wall to scale-up biofuel production.

Mark Guiltinan

J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany; Professor of Plant Molecular Biology; Director, Endowed Program in the Molecular Biology of Cocoa
Plant functional genomics, metabolomics and biotechnology. Research focuses on identification of key genes for disease resistance and important traits in the tree crop Theoboma cacao, the Chocolate tree. We collaborated with other labs at Penn State…

David Huff

Professor of Turfgrass Breeding and Genetics

Population genetics. Plant evolution and ecology. Crop improvement. Physiological tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress.

Seogchan Kang

Professor of Plant Pathology & Environmental Microbiology

Genetic and cellular mechanisms underpinning plant-fungal interactions with Arabidopsis thaliana and Fusarium oxysporum as a model system. Molecular genetics and comparative genomics of fungal plant pathogens. Bioinformatics.

Teh-hui Kao

Chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Plant Biology; Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Molecular, biochemical, and structural bases of the S-RNase-based self-incompatibility system in flowering plants. F-box protein-mediated ubiquitination and degradation of proteins.

Jesse Lasky

Assistant Professor of Biology

Ecological & evolutionary genomics, genetic and ecophysiological basis of adaptation to environmental stress, evolutionary ecology of biological complexity.

Jonathan Lynch

Distinguished Professor of Plant Nutrition

Plant adaptation to nutrient and water stress. Global change. World hunger. Root biology.

Hong Ma

Professor of Biology; Huck Distinguished Research Professor of Plant Molecular Biology

Plant development under favorable and stressful conditions;  phylogeny and evolutionary biology of plant groups containing major crops and ecologically important species.

Sally Mackenzie

Lloyd and Dottie Huck Chair for Functional Genomics; Professor of Biology; Professor of Plant Science

Organelle biology and cellular specializations. Plant epigenetics, memory and phenotypic plasticity. Crop epigenetic breeding.

Siela Maximova

Senior Scientist and Professor of Horticulture

Molecular basis of plant-pathogen and plant-endophyte interactions. Biotechnology of tree crops. Development of sustainable energy crops.

Timothy McNellis

Associate Professor of Plant Pathology & Environmental Microbiology

Genetics, molecular biology and physiology of plant interactions with phytopathogenic bacteria. Signal transduction events involved in plant disease resistance. Genetic control of plant hypersensitive cell death.

Gabriele Monshausen

Associate Professor of Biology

Plant cell signaling. Hormonal and mechanical signal transduction in plant growth regulation. Live cell imaging of subcellular microdomains of ionic signaling.

B. Tracy Nixon

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Structural and functional basis of cellulose synthesis. Using Physcomitrella patens and other organisms as model systems, we are learning how plants make cellulose for building new cell wall. The studies use methods of molecular biology and cryoEM to…

Tanya Renner

Assistant Professor of Entomology

Evolution of chemical and structural defense. Molecular evolution, evolutionary genomics, and transcriptomics. Origins and evolution of carnivorous plants.

Cristina Rosa

Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology & Environmental Microbiology
Plant Virology, interaction of plant viruses with their insects as vectors and with their plant hosts. Virus evolution, exploration of plant viromes, viral co-infections, effect of climate change on viral resistant breaking strains. Use of…

Andrew Stephenson

Distinguished Professor of Biology

The impact of inbreeding by plants on organic volatile production, herbivory and the establishment and spread of diseases. The effects of disease on the foraging behavior of vectors and their natural enemies.

Ming Tien

Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Characterization and biochemical analysis of cellulose synthesis in a variety of organisms. Mechanism and regulation of fungal degradation of lignin. Dissimilatory Iron reduction.

James Tumlinson

Director of the Center for Chemical Ecology; Ralph O. Mumma Professor of Entomology

Insect chemical ecology. Plant-insect interactions. Insect attractants.

Yinong Yang

Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Signal perception and transduction in rice-pathogen interactions. Molecular and genomic strategies for increasing disease resistance and drought tolerance in cereal crops.