Dr. Cope is a molecular plant physiologist that specializes in identifying molecular mechanisms controlling beneficial plant-microbe interactions. In his role as a postdoctoral research associate in the Biosciences Division and the Systems Biology Group, he works on the DOE-funded Plant-Microbe Interface project to characterize the plant developmental, metabolic, and signaling pathways underlying the mediation of beneficial relationships with bacterial and fungal symbionts of Populus.
Previously, Dr. Cope earned a B.Sci. in Plant Science and Biology from Utah State University and then completed a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. While conducting doctoral research on the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of symbiotic associations between poplar trees and mycorrhizal fungi, he received a 3-year NSF graduate research fellowship. After graduating, he continued his research on beneficial plant-microbe interactions as a postdoctoral research associate at South Dakota State University. For three years, he studied legume tripartite interactions with both arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and the nitrogen fixing bacteria rhizobia.