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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Alabady, Magdy

Magdy Alabady Associate Research Faculty Plant Biology Genomics and computational biology of plant – microbiome interactions, RNA post-translation regulatory networks, and genome characterization Website

Bar-Peled, Maor

Maor Bar-Peled Associate Professor Plant Biology Molecular cell biology of the wall, Biofuel and BioEnergy, Golgi as model for System biology, Plant Immunity. Website

Barb, Jessica

Jessica Barb Assistant Research Scientist Plant Biology Crop breeding and genetics. Website coming

Bennetzen, Jeff

Jeff Bennetzen Professor Genetics; Bioinformatics Plant genomics and genome evolution, transposable elements, and regulatory gene evolution. Website

Buell, C. Robin

C. Robin Buell Professor GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in Crop Genomics Plant Biology, Bioinformatics Plant genome biology with a focus on crops and medicinal plants; Synthetic biology; Evolution of natural product biosynthesis Website

Burke, John

John Burke Distinguished Research Professor and Department Head Plant Biology Evolutionary genetics; molecular evolution; genomics. Website

Darvill, Alan

Alan Darvill Regents Professor, Director Complex Carbohydrate Research Center Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Structures and functions of the noncellulosic polysaccharides of plant primary cell walls. Website

Dawe, Kelly

Kelly Dawe Distinguished Research Professor Genetics; Plant Biology Plant centromere and kinetochore structure and function. Website

Devos, Katrien

Katrien Devos Distinguished Research Professor Bioinformatics; Plant Biology Crop genetics, comparative genomics and genome evolution. Website

Dundas, Chris

Chris Dundas Assistant Professor Department of Plant Biology & Institute of Bioinformatics Using plant and microbial synthetic biology to study and design plant form/function, engineer plant microbiomes, and aid biological carbon sequestration. Website

Kvitko, Brian

Brian Kvitko Associate Professor Microbiology Molecular mechanisms of plant immune action and bacterial pathogen virulence in model and crop pathosystems. Tool/technique development for phytopathogenesis systems biology and translational research. Website

Lechtreck, Karl

Karl Lechtreck Associate Professor Cellular Biology Cell Biology of Cilia; Cilia-related diseases, Intracellular Transport. Website

Leebens-Mack, Jim

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. Website

Lukowitz, Wolfgang

Wolfgang Lukowitz Associate Professor Plant Biology Fertilization, and early cell-fate decisions in plant embryos. Website

Mohnen, Debra

Debra Mohnen Professor Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Complex Carbohydrate Research Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Plant Biology Biosynthesis and function of the plant cell wall polysaccharide pectin. Anti-cancer effects of pectin. Website

Nelms, Brad

Brad Nelms Assistant Professor Plant Biology Cell differentiation during plant reproduction, genomics and gene regulatory networks, single-cell RNA-sequencing, reprogramming cell fate Website

Paterson, Andrew

Andrew Paterson Regents Professor and Head, Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory Plant Biology; Genetics; 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. Website

Salzman, Shayla

Shayla Salzman Assistant Professor, Entomology Multi-modal signaling between plants and insects, evolution and mechanism of inter-species interactions. Techniques include insect behavior, chemical ecology, and phylogenetics. Website

Schmitz, Bob

Bob Schmitz Professor Genetics Population epigenomics and mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance. Website

Trapnell, Dorset

Dorset 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. Website

Tsai, C.J.

C.J. Tsai Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Bioinformatics; Genetics; Plant Biology Growth-defense tradeoff, phenylpropanoid metabolism and carbon allocation, gene family evolution and functional diversification, alternative splicing and gene duplication. Website

Urbanowicz, Breeanna

Breeanna Urbanowicz Assistant Professor Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Complex Carbohydrate Research Center Structure and function of enzymes involved in plant polysaccharide biosynthesis and modification with the long term goal to develop pathway engineering or targeted genomics approaches for enhanced production of bio-materials, -products, and -fuels. Website

van der Knaap, Esther

Esther van der Knaap Professor Genetics; Plant Biology The regulation of fruit shape and size of tomato and other Solanaceous crops Website

Wallace, Ian

Ian Wallace Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Complex Carbohydrate Research Center Biosynthesis and regulation of plant cell wall synthesis and deposition, post-translational modifications, glycan imaging and dynamics. Website

Wallace, Jason

Jason Wallace Associate Professor Bioinformatics Quantitative genetics, crop genomics, crop-microbiome interactions. Website

Zheng, Y. George

Y. George Zheng Professor Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences Drug Development, Chemical Biology, Cancer Disease Mechanism, Epigenetics and Genetics, Histone Modifications, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Enzymology, and Biophysics. Website