Molecular Plant Sciences Faculty

Learn more about this group by contacting Dr. Esther van der Knaap ( or by visiting the UGA Plant Center website.

Basic research in plant sciences helps meet the enormous challenge of securing food and health for a world population that has already reached 7 billions and is likely to grow to 9 billions by 2050. Research covers a wide range of research topics including the perception of light by plants, seed germination and plant development, mecanisms of resistance to diseases, plant-insect or plant-microbe interactions, metabolism of plant cells or epigenetic mechanisms.

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Photo of Maor Bar-Peled
Maor Bar-Peled
Associate Professor Plant Biology

Molecular cell biology of the wall, Biofuel and BioEnergy, Golgi as model for System biology, Plant Immunity.

Photo of Jeff Bennetzen
Jeff Bennetzen
Professor Genetics

Plant genomics and genome evolution, transposable elements, and regulatory gene evolution.

Photo of John M. Burke
John M. Burke
Professor Plant Biology

Evolutionary genetics; molecular evolution; genomics.

Photo of Alan Darvill
Alan Darvill
Regents Professor, Director Complex Carbohydrate Research Center Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Structures and functions of the noncellulosic polysaccharides of plant primary cell walls.

Photo of Kelly Dawe
Kelly Dawe
Distinguished Research Professor Genetics; Plant Biology

Plant centromere and kinetochore structure and function.

Photo of Katrien M. Devos
Katrien M. Devos
Professor Bioinformatics; Plant Biology

Crop genetics, comparative genomics and genome evolution.

Photo of Julia Diaz
Julia Diaz
Assistant Professor Marine Sciences

The role of reactive oxygen species in coral bleaching. Identifying the enzymes involved in the utilization of alternative phosphorus sources by marine phytoplankton. Characterizing enzymatic modes of extracellular superoxide production by diatoms.

Photo of Lisa Donovan
Lisa Donovan
Professor Plant Biology

Plant evolutionary ecophysiology, adaptations to stress.

Photo of Scott Jackson
Scott Jackson
Professor Plant Biology

We conduct research at the interface of genome structure/evolution and plant genetics/breeding. Currently, we work on several legumes (soybean, common bean, pigeon pea, cowpea and peanut) as well as rice.

Photo of Karl Lechtreck
Karl Lechtreck
Assistant Professor Cellular Biology

Cilia and cilia-related disease; single molecule imaging; intraflagellar transport

Photo of Jim Leebens-Mack
Jim Leebens-Mack
Associate Professor Plant Biology

Phylogenetics, genetics of diversification including speciation; molecular basis of adaptation; evolutionary genomics; evolution of plant reproduction; organismal and molecular coevolution.

Photo of Wolfgang Lukowitz
Wolfgang Lukowitz
Associate Professor Plant Biology

Fertilization, and early cell-fate decisions in plant embryos.

Photo of Russell L. Malmberg
Russell L. Malmberg
Professor Bioinformatics; Plant Biology

Bioinformatics of non-coding RNAs and gene family evolution; evolutionary genetics of Sarracenia(Pitcher plant) species.

Photo of Debra Mohnen
Debra Mohnen
Professor Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Biosynthesis and function of the plant cell wall polysaccharide pectin. Anti-cancer effects of pectin.

Photo of Andrew Paterson
Andrew Paterson
Regents Professor and Head, Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory Plant Biology; Genetics; Institute of Bioinformatics

My unit’s work addresses dimensions of plant genome biology relevant toward a more bio-based economy, linking increased fundamental knowledge to improved human lives.

Photo of Bob Schmitz
Bob Schmitz
Associate Professor Genetics

Population epigenomics and mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance

Photo of Dorset W. Trapnell
Dorset W. Trapnell
Assistant Professor Plant Biology

Evolutionary biology and population genetics of natural plant populations, specifically evolutionary factors that shape patterns of genetic variation and mechanisms for partitioning and maintaining species-wide diversity.

Photo of C.J. Tsai
C.J. Tsai
Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Bioinformatics; Genetics

Growth-defense tradeoff, phenylpropanoid metabolism and carbon allocation, gene family evolution and functional diversification, alternative splicing and gene duplication.

Photo of Esther van der Knaap
Esther van der Knaap
Professor Genetics

the regulation of fruit shape and size of tomato and other Solanaceous crops

Photo of William S. York
William S. York
Professor Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Structure, function, and assembly of plant cell walls; Bioinformatics for glycomics and glycobiology.

Photo of Xiaoyu Zhang
Xiaoyu Zhang
Assistant Professor Plant Biology

Functional genomics; epigenetic control of plant gene expression.

Photo of Y. George Zheng
Y. George Zheng
Associate Professor, Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences

Chemical biology, epigenetics and chromatin, medicinal chemistry, drug discovery, organic synthesis, bioorganic chemistry, posttranslational modification, molecular biology, biochemistry, enzymology, and bioinformatics.

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