Biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, synthetic biology
I am a broadly trained biochemist and molecular biologist. I switched fields from cancer and oncogenesis to plant biology in the early 1990s because I felt there was much to be discovered in plants.
My research centers around the biochemical nature of a plant chemical signaling language, which is important for use and sensing of a limited nutrient — phosphate. In the past few years my research group has been engaged in translating our basic science discoveries to solve agricultural problems.
My research focuses on harnessing what we have learned about plant signaling to address the current phosphate crisis. Phosphate is needed for maximal plant growth in agriculture, but can pollute streams and watersheds resulting in harmful algal growth, or blooms. My lab group seeks to understand how plant signaling molecules control phosphate uptake, how we can use this to limit phosphate pollution, and how to recycle phosphate already in the environment.