Jerry J. Brand
Professor, Ph.D.

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A major research interest of Jerry Brand is the mechanism of freezing damage in algal cells and processes that protect them from chilling and freezing damage. Studies are directed toward the development of improved processes for cryopreservation (freezing and storing for an indefinitely long period of time at liquid nitrogen temperature) of living algae. These studies have led to the development of protoco...Jerry J. Brand

Richard M. Brown
Johnson & Johnson Centennial Chair In Plant Cell Biology

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Cellulose is the most abundant macromolecule on earth, yet details about its biosynthesis and structure remain unclear. We are using broad, interdisciplinary advances and tools to study cellulose and its biosynthesis. We employ many different model systems, including Arabidopsis, Sativa, Gossypium, bacteria, algae, and cyanobacteria. Our approaches involve gene cloning and sequencing, introduction of alter...Richard M. Brown

Karen S. Browning
Associate Professor in Chemistry & Biochemistry
Director Dual Degree MD/PhD Program
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My research focuses on the initiation of protein synthesis in higher plants. We are seeking a molecular description of the process in which initiation factors (eIF4A, eIF4B, eIF4F, eIF3, eIF2 and PABP) select, prepare and bind messenger RNA to the 40S ribosome. Plants have a unique second form of eIF4F (eIF(iso)4F), and we are using a variety of methods (genetic knockouts, gene silencing, DNA arrays, etc.)...Karen S. Browning

Z. Jeffrey Chen
D. J. Sibley Centennial Professor in Plant Molecular Genetics

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We study genetic and epigenetic mechanisms for gene expression changes in polyploids. Polyploidy, or whole-genome duplication (WGD), is an evolutionary innovation for all eukaryotes including some animals and many plants. The common occurrence of polyploidy suggests an evolutionary advantage of having multiple sets of genetic material for adaptive evolution. However, increased gene and genome dosages in aut...Z. Jeffrey Chen

Norma Fowler

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My students and I are currently pursuing a variety of questions in several areas of plant population biology and plant ecology. These areas include (1) the dynamics and regulation of plant populations; (2) competitive and facilitative interactions between plants and their consequences for community structure and for species distributions across their landscape; (3) the effects of herbivory and of fire on pl...Norma Fowler

Larry Gilbert
Director, Brackenridge Field Laboratory
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Dr. Gilbert's current research ranges from the analysis of coevolved traits of insects and plants to experimental population dynamics and developmental genetics of mimetic color patterns in Heliconius butterflies. By working across different levels of biology in the same tropical food web, he hopes to understand both the context and the mechanisms of evolution and coevolution. By carefully studying populati...Larry Gilbert

Christine Hawkes
Associate Professor

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Research in the Hawkes Lab is focused on a mechanistic understanding of how plant-microbe interactions affect community and ecosystem processes. We explore how these relationships are influenced by alterations in climate, species invasions, and land use. This research is highly integrative and relies on a wide range of techniques, including DNA-based microbial community analyses, stable isotope biogeochemis...Christine Hawkes

David L. Herrin
Professor of Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology

Most of our research revolves around the chloroplast genome of plants and algae, which we view as a simpler model genome (compared to the nucleus) for understanding genome expression, regulation, and evolution. We have paid particular attention to the introns, since they have dynamic functions, such as self-splicing and the ability to spread to new alleles. Also, during evolution, they can move horizontally...David L. Herrin

Enamul Huq
Associate Professor in Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology

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Our research is aimed at understanding light signal transduction, specifically those pathways mediated by the phytochrome (phy) family of sensory photoreceptors that absorb light in the red and far-red region of the spectrum. The phy system, consisting of five members in Arabidopsis (phyA-phyE), controls almost every aspect of the plant life cycle including seed germination, de-etiolation and flowering time...Enamul Huq

Robert Jansen
Sidney F. and Doris Blake Centennial Professor In Systematic Botany and the Blake Collection

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My primary research interests involve the determination of phylogenetic relationships among plants and the evolution of the chloroplast genome. Research in my lab is concentrated in three areas: (1) organization and evolution of chloroplast genomes; (2) computational methods for comparative chloroplast genomics, (3) examination of extensive genetic integration between the two organelles and the nucleus in...Robert Jansen

Shalene Jha

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Broadly, my research interests include landscape genetics, population ecology, conservation biology, and foraging ecology. More specifically, I am interested in examining how global land use change influences gene flow, foraging patterns, and population viability for plants and animals. I am investigating a number of these topics within human-altered landscapes in California, Texas, Panama, and Mexico.Shalene Jha

Thomas Juenger
Associate Professor, Integrative Biology
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My research focuses on the interface of ecological and evolutionary processes in natural plant populations. I am generally interested in phenotypic evolution, and have studied a number of systems over the course of my career. A current focus in the lab is the identification and characterization of genes underlying variation in drought adaptation among Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes collected from around the ...Thomas Juenger

John W. La Claire II
Professor, Ph.D.

We use marine and freshwater algal cells as model systems for studying basic cell and molecular biological questions. Most recently, we have been investigating the molecular genetic basis for harmful blooms of the golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) that have been causing massive fish kills in Texas and around the globe. Using DNA microarray technology, research is aimed at discovering which genes and metaboli...John W. La Claire II

Mathew Leibold

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The field of ecology, and from my perspective especially the fields of community and ecosystem ecology, are in a state of tremendous and exciting change. In part this is due to improved methods and theories that are revitalizing the field from an academic perspective. But this is also largely driven by changes in the motivations and goals of scientists who are increasingly interested in questions that have ...Mathew Leibold

Donald A. Levin
Associate Editor, Evolutionary Ecology
Dr. Levin's research is currently focused on the function and dynamics of the breeding system in annual species of Phlox. This entails analyses of gene flow via pollen within and among populations, documentation of the number and frequency of self-incompatibility genes within populations, the nature of pollen-pistil incompatibility, the level of competition among pollen tubes in open-pollinated pistils, and...Donald A. Levin

C. Randal Linder
Associate Professor

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My research focuses on three areas: the evolution of complex character traits in a phylogenetic context, the genetic architecture of species, and genetic maternal effects in seeds. I use modern molecular techniques, computer modeling, and traditional experimental approaches. My primary work is the evolution of angiosperm seed-oil composition. I study the selective forces that have generated the wide variety...C. Randal Linder

Alan Lloyd
Professor in Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology


The main goal of my lab is to understand developmental mechanisms and pigment pathways in plants. The control of cell fate decisions is a central issue during plant development and pattern formation. One main focus of my lab is to use trichome (epidermal plant hair) initiation as a simple and amenable model to study the control of plant cell fate decision events. Over the years we have identified a combi...

Alan Lloyd

James D. Mauseth

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Research in my lab centers on evolution of morphogenic mechanisms and structure. We use cacti as model organisms because the family contains a great amount of structural/developmental diversity and because the cactus genus Pekeskia retains numerous relictual characters. Plants of Pereskia have hard woody stems and ordinary large leaves. From ancestors like this, morphogenic mechanisms have evolved into ones...James D. Mauseth

Mona Mehdy
Associate Professor in Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology

In response to pathogens and herbivores, plants employ up-regulation and down-regulation of diverse genes to achieve resistance. Research in my lab centers on two areas: 1) molecular mechanisms of down-regulation of gene expression during the plant defense response and its biological significance; 2) understanding the functions of specific defense-down-regulated genes during normal growth and development....Mona Mehdy

Nancy Moran

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Symbioses between animals and microbes have evolved many times, and have been a major influence on macroevolutionary patterns of diversification as well as short-term evolution within host populations. My lab group works on symbioses between insects and bacteria, using evolutionary, functional and genomic approaches. I've been especially interested in how the population genetics of the symbionts affects mut...Nancy Moran

Jose L. Panero
Associate Professor
Assistant Director, Plant Resources Center
As a plant systematist, Dr. Panero is interested in the distribution, diversity, and evolution of flowering plants. His research focuses on the elucidation of phylogenetic relationships among Neotropical members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) using traditional and molecular techniques. Another important activity of the lab and the University of Texas Herbarium is the documentation of the floristic div...Jose L. Panero

Hong Qiao
Assistant Professor

Hong Qiao

Stanley Roux
Professor in Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology

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We are studying how the stimuli of light and gravity alter patterns of plant development. In our studies of light-induced responses we have found that ectoapyrase, an enzyme whose expression is strongly regulated by the photoreceptor phytochrome, can modulate the levels of extracellular ATP [eATP], and that, surprisingly, changes in [eATP] can influence hormone transport, the growth of plant cells and organ...Stanley Roux

Beryl B. Simpson
C. L. Lundell Professor

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Dr. Simpson's laboratory is engaged in an array of studies that deal with the phylogeny and biogeography of various angiosperm groups. Taxonomic groups range from monocots to the Asteraceae. Most biogeographic work is directed toward explaining patterns seen in the American Southwest, Mexico, and Central and South America. Methodologies for uncovering evolutionary histories include the use of cpDNA restrict...Beryl B. Simpson

Sibum Sung
Assistant Professor Cell and Developmental Biology

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Our research interests focus on the genetic, molecular and biochemical understandings of plant development through plant-environment interactions. We are particularly interested in the epigenetic regulation of the floral transition by environmental cues, such as temperature and photoperiod. The prolonged cold of winter, known as vernalization, is one such cue that certain plants use to acquire competence ...Sibum Sung

Ed Theriot
Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor of Molecular Evolution
Director, Texas Memorial Museum
I study the evolution of diatoms in the context of earth history. My taxonomic focus is the diatom family Thalassiosiraceae, a family of marine and freshwater diatoms. There appears to have been a major invasion from the marine to the freshwater environment about 20 million years ago. Subsequently, these diatoms have become a major component of lake ecosystems. They have undergone periodic extinctions and r...Ed Theriot

Tracy Villareal

My research interests are in understanding the processes and interactions that structure phytoplankton communities. I have two major research areas: the autecology of the oceanic species that represent the largest known phytoplankton, and harmful algal blooms along the Texas coast. My lab uses both field and laboratory studies to understand phytoplankton community responses.Tracy Villareal

Plant Biology images. (Photo credit: Dr. Z. Jeffrey Chen/University of Texas at Austin; Shutterstock images)