Scientific Advisory Board
Each of the individuals serving on our scientific advisory board is internationally recognized as a leading expert in plant biology, plant pathology, genomics, or chemistry.
Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz
Elliot M. Meyerowitz, Ph.D. is George W. Beadle Professor of Biology and Chair of the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Meyerowitz earned his A.B. from Columbia University, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in Biology from Yale University. He joined the Caltech faculty after a postdoctoral period at the Biochemistry Department of the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Meyerowitz was a Drosophila expert before he became one of the pioneers of Arabidopsis research. Dr. Meyerowitz is well known for his contributions on the genetic and molecular basis of plant hormone reception, and on the molecular mechanisms of pattern formation in flower and shoot apical meristem development. Dr. Meyerowitz is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1995), and the American Philosophical Society (1998), and is a foreign member of the French Acad̩mie des Sciences (2002) and the British Royal Society (2004). Among the awards he has received are the Genetics Society of America Medal in 1996, the International Prize for Biology from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 1997, the Lounsbery Award from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1999, the Wilbur Cross Medal of Yale University in 2001, and the Harrison Prize of the International Society of Developmental Biologists in 2005. He is a member of the editorial board of 8 leading journals in genetics, genomics, and developmental biology, and has served as president of the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology (1995-7), the Genetics Society of America (1999) and the Society for Developmental Biology (2005-6). He was also selected in June 2011 among the first-ever class of HHMI-GBMF Investigators, dedicated to leading research in Plant Sciences.
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Dr. Jonathan Jones
Jonathan D.G. Jones, Ph.D.
is Senior Scientist at Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK. Dr. Jones received
his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Cambridge University. After a 2 year postdoctoral
research appointment with Dr. Ausubel on symbiotic nitrogen fixation,
he joined Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc, in Oakland CA, where he made
significant contributions to the transgenic use of maize transposons in
plant molecular genetics. He also co-authored a dominant patent on the
use of engineered chitinases for plant disease resistance. Since 1988,
he has directed his own group in the Sainsbury Laboratory at the John
Innes Centre, Norwich UK. His group is internationally recognized for
current research on plant disease resistance and plant molecular genetics.
Among other contributions in plant disease resistance, he has isolated
leaf mould resistance genes from tomato, and downy mildew resistance genes
from Arabidopsis. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2003.
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Dr. Brian Staskawicz
Brian John Staskawicz, Ph.D.
is Professor of Plant Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Staskawicz received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley,
M.F.S. from Yale University and B.A. from Bates College. Dr. Staskawicz
is recognized as a leading plant molecular geneticist on plant pathology.
His contributions include cloning of plant disease resistant genes. He
was elected a member of National Academy of Sciences in 1999. Dr. Staskawicz
is the recipient of a number of awards including being named a Fulbright
Scholar in 1991, receiving the American Phytopathological Society's Ruth
Allen Award in 1995 and the U.S.D.A. Honors Award in 1995.
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Dr. Fred Ausubel
Frederick M. Ausubel, Ph.D.
is Professor of Genetics at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ausubel received
his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in
Molecular Genetics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr.
Ausubel is a leading Molecular Biologist in the fields of molecular genetics
of nitrogen fixation genes, molecular genetics of Arabidopsis thaliana,
and molecular genetics of host-pathogen interactions in plants and animals.
Dr. Ausubel was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1994, and
has served on seven Editorial Boards including the well-known Bible
for Molecular Biology, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology.
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Dr. Ulrich Schirmer
Ulrich Schirmer, Ph.D., is a very experienced and highly regarded consultant
in the agricultural chemistry industry, in which he has more than 30
years of experience. From 1990-2002 Dr. Schirmer was Senior Vice President
for BASF where he was responsible for the discovery and development of
crop-protection chemicals. Prior to that Dr. Schirmer worked in various
research and marketing positions at BASF. Dr. Schirmer was part of the team
that started the plant biotechnology group within BASF in 1997 and was part
of the integration team for the American Cyanamid acquisition by BASF. Dr.
Schirmer was a board member for Wirtschaftsverbund Pflanzengenomforschung
GABI e.V. Dr. Schirmer played a major role in the development of agricultural
chemicals based on the naturally-occurring strobilurin antifungal compounds.
The resulting agrochemicals represent more than 20% of the value of the
global fungicide market today.
Dr. Schirmer received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart
(1973) and did post doctoral work at the University of Paris-Orsay.
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Dr. Andrew Millar
Andrew Millar, Ph.D., holds a Chair of Systems Biology at the University
of Edinburgh. He combines molecular, physiological, and mathematical
approaches in his research on the circadian clock in
After undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, his thesis
work established long-term luciferase reporter gene methods in vivo and
identified the first plant mutants in clock genes, at the Rockefeller
University, New York and the NSF Center for Biological Timing, Virginia.
A central focus of his group's work is to develop biochemically
realistic mathematical models of the Arabidopsis clock mechanism and
its effects on whole-plant growth, constrained by experimental time
series data and direct parameter measurements. Millar is P.I. for
coordination of GARNet, the UK network for Arabidopsis functional
genomics, which aims to promote both the uptake of systems biology
and translation of Arabidopsis research to crops. As Co-Director and
P.I. of the Centre for Systems Biology at Edinburgh (CSBE), Millar
leads one of 6 BBSRC/EPSRC-funded Centres for Integrative Systems
Biology in the UK. CSBE's research focus is on the modelling of
dynamic biological systems, using Edinburgh's strength in Informatics.
He is also Systems Biology theme director for the Scottish Universities
Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA). His BBSRC Research Development Fellowship
was recently extended, to facilitate the interdisciplinary collaboration
required for systems biology.
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Dr. Joseph R. Ecker
Joseph Ecker. Ph.D. is a Professor in the Plant Biology
Laboratory and the Director of the Genomic Analysis
Laboratory at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in
La Jolla, Ca. He earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and
carried out postdoctoral studies with Ronald Davis at the
Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University.
Professor Ecker served on the Faculty at the University of
Pennsylvania (1987-2000) before joining The Salk Institute
for Biological Studies (2000). His research on the gaseous
plant hormone ethylene has yielded basic insights into the
mechanisms of plant growth control and its application has
resulted in technologies that delay fruit ripening and
disease processes. His laboratory participated in mapping
and sequencing the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana and he
continues to explore the encyclopedia of DNA elements in
Arabidopsis through the development and application of
technologies for genome-wide and systems biology analysis
of plant gene function. Professor Ecker has been the
recipient of multiple honors, including: the Kumho
Science International Award in Plant Molecular Biology and
Biotechnology (2001), the International Plant Growth
Substances Association Distinguished Research Award (2004),
the American Society for Plant Molecular Biology Martin
Gibbs Medal (2005), and was chosen as the Scientific
American 50: Research Leader of the Year in Agriculture in
2004. He was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences
in 2006, and in 2007 he received the John J. Carty Award
for the Advancement of Science from the US National
Academy of Sciences. Professor Ecker is an editor of PLoS
Genetics and the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science. He currently serves as President of the
International Society for Plant Molecular Biology. He was also selected in June 2011 among the first-ever class of HHMI-GBMF Investigators, dedicated to leading research in Plant Sciences.
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Dr. Andrew H. Paterson
Andrew Paterson, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia, jointly appointed in three Departments (Crop and Soil Science, Plant Biology, and Genetics) and the director of the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory (www.plantgenome.uga.edu). He earned his B.S. (Summa Cum Laude) in Plant Science from the University of Delaware, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Genetics from Cornell University, carrying out postdoctoral studies with Steven Tanksley at Cornell. From 1989-1991 he worked at the E. I. DuPont Company in crop biotechnology, also serving as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware. In 1991, he joined the faculty of Texas A&M University, where he was appointed to the Christine Richardson Endowed Professorship in 1996. He moved to the University of Georgia in 1999. His research into plant genome organization and analysis has yielded basic insights into the evolutionary history of angiosperms, and its application has contributed to genetic analysis of agriculturally-important traits in many leading crops. His laboratory has been active in genetic and evolutionary analysis of sorghum, cotton, sugarcane, Brassica, peanut, Bermuda grass, maize, rice, and other crops, also participating in sequencing the genomes of many of these and other organisms. Professor Paterson has been the recipient of the Crop Science Society of America "Young Crop Scientist of the Year" award (1996), the Cotton, Inc. Cotton Biotechnology award (2002), D. W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research (2005), National Cotton Council Cotton Genetics Research Award (2008), and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Plant Sciences (2007-8). Professor Paterson has served on eight editorial boards, and is currently an associate editor of Genetics, Theoretical and Applied Genetics, and Tropical Plant Biology. He chairs the Sorghum Genomics Executive Committee, and is on the steering committee of the International Cotton Genome Initiative.
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Dr. Trey Ideker
Dr. Ideker is Division Chief of Medical Genetics at UCSD School of Medicine.
He also serves as Professor of Bioengineering, Adjunct Professor of Computer
Science and Member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. He is a pioneer in using
genome-scale measurements to construct network models of cellular processes and
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Dr. Natasha Raikhel
Natasha Raikhel is the Director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology at the University of California, Riverside. She holds the Ernst and Helen Leibacher Endowed Chair, is a Distinguished Professor of Plant Cell Biology, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. She was born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1947. Dr. Raikhel received her M.S. in Biology and her Ph.D. from the Institute of Cytology in Leningrad, USSR. She has served on numerous government and industry advisory and editorial boards and as Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology from 2000-2005. She was awarded the 2002 Senior Career Recognition Award by the Women in Cell Biology Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology and the 2004 Stephen Hales Prize by the American Society of Plant Biologists for her pioneering work in the field of plant biology. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2002 and an inaugural Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2007. She was honored as the 2007-08 Faculty Research Lecturer for the University of California, Riverside - the top university research award annually presented to only one individual. With over 125 refereed research publications and 65 solicited articles, she is recognized as one of the most highly-cited researchers in the field of plant science. Research in her laboratory is presently focused on understanding the mechanisms of endosomal and vacuolar trafficking in plant cells, using a combination of cellular, molecular, genetic, proteomic, genomic, and chemical genomics technologies.
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