People: Plant Biochemistry
Director of the Center for Chemical Ecology; Associate 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, chemotaxis of soil nematodes, and evolution of plant defense strategies.
Co-Director, Center for RNA Molecular Biology; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
RNA folding in vivo and genome-wide; RNA regulation of gene expression; Ribozyme Mechanism; roles RNA may have played in the emergence of life on early earth
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.
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Regulation and signal transduction in plant secondary metabolism. Phytoremediation of hydrocarbons. Commercial chemical production in plants and plant tissue culture.
Assistant Professor of Vegetable Crop Science
Plant nutrition, plant physiological and biochemical response to environmental and abiotic stress conditions, sustainable vegetable production, agrobiodiversity, agronomic biofortification, food and nutrition security.
Emphasis Area Representative, Molecular Toxicology; Assistant Professor of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Development of new metabolomics tools for chemical and biological characterization of complex systems. Discovery of new natural products from plants and microorganisms with novel bioactivity against pathogenic fungi and neglected tropical diseases. Bioanalytical techniques to probe the mechanism of action and basic biology of these target organisms. Ethnobotany and indigenous knowledge surrounding plant-based medicine.
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 characterize the enzyme as a monomer, and when it assembles into its larger 'Cellulose Synthase Complex '(CSC for short). The aim is to understand cellulose synthesis to explain fundamentals of cell wall biology in plants, and to enable manipulation of its synthesis for applications in fields of bioenergy and materials.