Understanding connections between plant genes, environment, and characteristics
The Plant Systems Biology Group seeks to explore and understand the network of genes, proteins, metabolites, and environmental signals that lead to improved plant characteristics and performance. As a group, our research primarily focuses on the underlying molecular genetics, physiological processes, and mechanisms influencing plant-microbe interactions and bioenergy feedstock productivity and sustainability.
The group conducts research to understand and predict how underlying molecular genetics processes result in the vast array of complex metabolic, physiological, and morphological characteristics observed in nature. We harness this understanding to address critical topics in biology, including biodesign for bioenergy feedstocks improvement and plant and microbial community assembly and function. Research also addresses how plant genetic processes cascade through biological organization to influence populations, communities, and ecosystem-level processes, such as carbon and nutrient cycling and sequestration. Our group uses advances in molecular biology, genetics and genomics, neutron and radiochemistry-based imaging, metabolomics, and high-throughput phenotyping as part of our research. Current research includes projects with the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, Plant-Microbe Interfaces science focus area, and two DOE Office of Science Early Career projects.