• Students in Rare Plants of North Carolina (PB 464/564; Fall) learn about southern Appalachian endemics on Bluff Mountain, Ashe Co, from Prof. Alexander Krings, curator of the herbarium.
We offer Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Accelerated Bachelor/Masters, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, with classroom and research opportunities in many areas of contemporary plant and microbial biology. Need more information?  Contact pmb_info@ncsu.edu

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Recent News

Catherine Doyle’s work with cassava was  highlighted in the NCSU bulletin. Doyle is preparing to spend several weeks in Tanzania, doing field work related to a research effort with Linda Handley-Bowdin aimed at tackling a disease that threatens the livelihood of people through sub-Saharan Africa.

Meeting Deepens Plant Science Collaboration Between VIB and NC State The plant science partnership formally forged last year between NC State University and a key European research institute is growing. On May 11-12 representatives from NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences traveled to Flanders, Belgium, to share their research and gain insight from their counterparts with VIB. NC State scientists toured greenhouses and other VIB facilities in Belgium including Jose Alonso, Nick Vangheluwe (VIB), Steve Lommel, Colleen Doherty, Amy Grunden, Marieke Louwers (VIB), Lina Quesada and Ross Sozzani. During the visit, five CALS faculty members — Colleen Doherty, Ross Sozzani, Lina Quesada, Jose Alonso and Amy Grunden — met one-on-one with VIB researchers.

Interdisciplinary Faculty Team Lands $1 Million NSF Grant for New Master’s Program. The Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Graduate Program will provide tuition for 20 master’s students in the Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry over five years focusing on research areas in nutrition and metabolic regulation that link biochemistry to applications in the departments of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences; Plant and Microbial Biology; Animal Science and Poultry Science. The grant co-PIs include Dr. Terri Long, associate professor of Plant Biology.

Dr. Marcela Rojas-Pierce hosted the very first Light Microscopy Workshop on May 22 and 23rd in coordination with the Cellular and Molecular Imaging Facility titled Measuring the concentration, movement and interactions of proteins in biological systems for a group of 7 undergraduate students from other NC universities. Eva Johannes, Director of CMIF, and Nina Allen, CMIF founder and Professor Emeritus, participated in the workshop.

Congratulations to our faculty promotions for 2016-2017!

Robert Franks to Professor
Alexander Krings to Associate Professor with Tenure
Xu “Sirius” Li to Associate Professor with Tenure
Terri Long to Associate Professor with Tenure
Imara Perera to Research Professor
Deyu Xie to Professor

Houston, We Have Tomatoes! Drs. Imara Perera and Marcela Rojas-Pierce are highlighted in this CALS article for their research work involving space and gravity.

Digging In! Dr. Linda Hanley-Bowdoin is highlighted for her research on the cassava mosaic disease which impacts a primary food source in developing countries.

Dr. Jenny Xiang has been exploring the evolutionary history of dogwood diversity.  Read more about her research at: https://cals.ncsu.edu/news/xiang-explores-the-evolutionary-history-of-dogwood-diversity/

Plant & Microbial Biology Student News:

Rika Judd (Plant Biology, Ph.D. student) has been selected by the North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee, the organizers for the 28th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research- ICAR 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri, to be a recipient of a Full Funding Conference Participation Award.

Rika Judd (Plant Biology, Ph.D. student) has been awarded the 2017 ASPB Recognition Travel Award to attend the American Society of Plant Biologists Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Jacob Dums (Plant Biology) was selected as the CALS Outstanding Teaching Assistant for 2017.

Dr. Walter Sandoval (nominated by Eric Miller) has won the Kenneth R. Keller Award for Excellence in Doctoral Dissertation Research in 2016. There were 3 nominees including Dr. Michael Just (Plant Biology). The Kenneth R. Keller Research Award was created in 1979 with an endowment in the Agricultural Foundation of North Carolina State University to honor his work for the University and North Carolina’s agricultural development. This endowment recognizes excellence in doctoral dissertation research in agriculture and life sciences. Each recipient receives a plaque and a monetary award of $2,500. The awards are presented annually during the spring banquet of Gamma Sigma Delta.

Recognition for Excellence in Laboratory Teaching. These graduate students exemplified their program’s highest degree of teaching achievement in a laboratory setting during the spring and/or fall 2016 term.
Jacob Dums – Plant Biology (PB), Ph.D. student
Jacob Vasser – Microbial Biotechnology (MMB) student
Nicole Lindor – Plant Biology (PB), Ph.D. student

The 12th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium on March 22, 2017 featured poster presentations from our PMB students:
Catherine DoyleFunctional Characterization of a New Type of Satellite associated with Cassava Mosaic Begomoviruses” (Advisor: Linda Hanley-Bowdoin)
DurreShahwar MuhammadElucidating the Molecular Mechanism of POPEYE Movement Involved in Iron Homeostasos, in Arabidopsis Thaliana” (Advisor: Terri Long)
Yu-Hung Hung Functional Analysis of the Conserved Domains of DEMETER Demethylase” (Advisor: Tzung-Fu Hsieh)
Alexandria SzakacsClassification of the Piedmont “prairie” community complex” (Advisor: Alexander Krings and William (Bill) Hoffmann)

CALS Student Focus: Brooklyn Newberry
Growing up in one of North Carolina’s poorest counties, Brooklynn Newberry, now a senior Plant Biology major, knew her high school’s shortage of Advanced Placement courses and extracurriculars would make college applications a challenge. Since arriving on campus, Brooklynn has worked as an assistant in a plant molecular biology laboratory, and spent 10 weeks in Brazil investigating the interplay of vegetation, climate and fire. See the interview with Brooklynn at https://cals.ncsu.edu/news/i-am-cals/.

Plant & Microbial Biology Fellowship and Funding Opportunities:

USDA – NCSU National Needs Doctoral Fellowships
Multidisciplinary Training in Advanced Technologies for High-Yield Sustainable Agriculture
NCSU Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, and Sciences are recruiting outstanding students to pursue interdisciplinary PhDs in Advanced Technologies for High Yield Sustainable Agriculture as USDA-funded National Needs Fellows. Open only to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or permanent residents of the Pacific Islands Trust Territory intending to become university teachers/researchers. We encourage applicants from groups underrepresented in agricultural sciences: women and African, Hispanic-, Native-, and Asian-Americans. Research will be under the auspices of AMPLIFY (Agrosphere Modeling for Producing Large Increases in Food Yield) in one or more of these six expertise-shortage areas: 1) biotechnology, biochemistry, and microbiology; 2) natural resources including sustainable agriculture and biofuels; 3) soil sciences; 4) agricultural/biological engineering; 5) plant sciences and horticulture; and 6) water resources including water quality. Students will be cross-trained among these and others such as bioinformatics, computational biology, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, geographic information science (GIS), remote sensing, integrated pest management, modeling, regulatory science, and climate change. A required 3-month resident internship in the public sector or at a local agricultural biotech company will increase career opportunities in the strong job market for cross-trained scientists. Candidates must have outstanding academic records, excellent GRE scores, and demonstrable financial need by federal guidelines. Included are: stipend, tuition, fees, and funds to defray research costs and travel to professional meetings. Additional information is available at the program website. Potential applicants wishing to pursue a plant biology / plant sciences related degree should contact Dr. Terri Long at terri_long@ncsu.edu. For other disciplines, navigate to the program website and/or contact Fellowship Program Director: Dr. Gary Payne

Study Abroad Scholarship Available – China Summer 2017 – Plant Resources, Ecology, and Culture. Click here for more information.

Plant & Microbial Biology Department and Faculty News:

Congratulations to our faculty promotions for 2016-2017!
Robert Franks to Professor
Alexander Krings to Associate Professor with Tenure
Xu “Sirius” Li to Associate Professor with Tenure
Terri Long to Associate Professor with Tenure
Imara Perera to Research Professor
Deyu Xie to Professor

Dr. Anna Stepanova is one of ten recipients awarded a $300,000 EAGER “Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research” grant for plant and animal microbiome and phenomics research. Titled Single-locus multi-hormone reporters for comprehensive plant phenotyping: a synthetic-biology approach, Anna’s research is funded as part of the NSF’s BIO Innovation Activities program. For detail about this grant and Anna’s specific research, please click here.Phytotron Stands the Test of Time: CALS Feature Focus – The Phytotron with Dr. Carole Saravitz, Phytotron Director and PMB Faculty member. For the full featured article, please click here.

Behind the Scenes in the Vacular Plant Herbarium: Faculty Focus – Dr. Alexander Krings. For the full featured article, please click here. Dr. Krings is the vascular plant herbarium director and assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and is charged with maintaining and growing this collection. He’s also responsible for developing tools – including books, websites and even mobile apps — that make it possible for scientists, students, farmers, Extension agents, environmental educators, landowners and others to correctly identify plants. The mission of our herbarium is to document and understand plant diversity and to transfer that knowledge to users who depend upon it.

2016 Sino-US Biodiversity Workshop/Symposium Held in Hangzhou View Pictures
The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the United States National Natural Science Foundation (NSF) funded a 2016 Sino-US Biodiversity Symposium. The workshop was held on October 19-25 at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. The symposium was jointly organized by Zhejiang University, North Carolina State University, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang Botanical Society, and Zhejiang Ecology Society. The theme of the workshop was “New theories and methods of biodiversity research”. The symposium was co-chaired by Prof. Ma Keping, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Brian Wiegmann and Prof. Jenny Xiang from North Carolina State University, USA, and Professors Cheng Lei and Fu Chengxin from Zhejiang University. More than 70 biodiversity scientists and graduate students/postdocs from more than 30 institutions attended the workshop, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, Fudan University, Sun Yat-sen University, Sichuan University, Yale University, University of Florida, Duke University, Washington University, North Carolina State University, and Smithsonian Institution. These symposia played important roles in promoting collaborations between the two sides in the field of biodiversity. At this symposium, a total of 41 research talks were organized in six sessions. Participants focused on new theories and methods of biodiversity research, community phylogeny, dynamic forest monitoring, phylogeny of major taxa, Eastern Asian-North American discontinuity distribution, and other topics.
NSFC-NSF’s research directions, collaborative project proposals, forms of cooperation between China and USA, and data sharing in the next five to 10 years in the field of biological diversity research were discussed. It was recognized that the scientific questions should aim to promote integrative, multidisciplinary, and multidimensional studies. On the building of basic science platform, promote construction of a large sample network, data sharing, and digitalization of specimens and genetic resources. On the building of research capacity, strengthening training of young researchers/students in research design, data analysis, writing, project management, etc., continue academic exchanges through Sino-US biological diversity seminars, establish support for international exchange programs, build online wiki website for information sharing and exchanges. For the schedule and further information on the workshop click here.

Researchers from NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill are launching a project to develop next generation greenhouses with built-in solar cells that make use of the entire spectrum of solar light. The project is supported by a four-year, $3 million grant from a new National Science Foundation program called Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS). Brendan O’Connor is the primary investigator (PI) of the project and an engineering researcher who studies organic electronics. In addition to O’Connor, the project has five co-PIs: Harald Ade, a distinguished professor of physics at NC State; Heike Sederoff, a professor of plant and microbial biology at NC State; Joe DeCarolis, an associate professor of environmental engineering at NC State; Carole Saravitz, director of the Phytotron at NC State; and Wei You, an associate professor of chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill. Story at https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/09/next-generation-greenhouses-2016/.

Congratulations to JoAnn Burkholder, Alexander Krings, Chad Jordan, and Tom Wentworth on their recognition by the Office of Faculty Development’s Thank-a-Teacher Program! The Office of Faculty Development administers the Thank a Teacher Program as a way to honor NC State faculty who have made a difference in students’ lives. Faculty members in your department or unit have been recognized by their students for their efforts and positive impacts as teachers in the Spring 2016 semester. For their efforts, they have been recognized with a formal letter from the Provost.

Jenny Xiang & Brian Wiegmann announce the international workshop in Hangzhou China on October 19th through October 25th, 2016. The workshop: “Building US-China Collaboration in Biodiversity Studies – Frontier Issues, New Approaches, and Opportunities” is hosted by Zhejiang University with sponsorship from the USA NSF grant and NSF China. Participants are from both the US and China. The National Science Foundation of both the United States & China sponsor the workshop to lay the foundation for multi-institutional collaborations that will lead to advances in frontier issues, new approaches, and opportunities for additional collaborative research on biodiversity. For the schedule and further information on the workshop click here.

Congratulations to Sirius Li for being the 2016 recipient of the Arthur C. Neish Young Investigator Award from the Phytochemical Society of North America. The award is given each year by the PSNA to outstanding early career scientists. (6/23/2016)

Alexandria Szakacs has been awarded one of two graduate research grants given by the Society of Herbarium Curators this year for her proposal: A Guide to the Phytolith Assemblages Produced by the Vascular Flora of Picture Creek Diabase Barrens (Granville Co., NC): A precursor for understanding vegetation history of a remnant Piedmont prairie community.  The $500 award will help support an undergraduate research assistant to assist her in the field and lab. (3/7/16)

Jenny Xiang & Brian Wiegmann hosted an international workshop: “Building US-China Collaboration in Biodiversity Studies – Frontier Issues, New Approaches, and Opportunities“. The National Science Foundation of both the United States & China have supported the workshop to lay the foundation for multi-institutional collaborations that will lead to advances in frontier issues, new approaches, and opportunities for additional collaborative research on biodiversity. The workshop was held at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 121 Jones St, Raleigh, North Carolina from October 16th to 18th, 2015. For the schedule and further information on the workshop click here. The workshop will happen again in Hangzhou China on October 19 to 25, 2016 and will be hosted by Zhejiang University and sponsored by the USA NSF grant and NSF China, with participants from the US and China

Terri Long and Cranos WIlliams’ research has been featured on NSF’s research news site, Science 360. (9/30/15)

Congratulations to Bob Franks, for being recognized by the Thank a Teacher Program.  The program recognizes faculty who have gone beyond their standard teacher roles and made a positive impact on the lives of NCSU students. (9/30/15)

Congratulations to Linda Handley-Bowdoin, along with George Kennedy (Entomology), Ignazio Carbone (Plant Pathology), Trino Ascencio-Ibanez (Biochemistry) and Timothy Goodale (STEM Education)on funding of a $5 million NSF PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education) proposal entitled “U.S. – East Africa Research and Education Partnership: Cassava Mosaic Disease, A Paradigm for the Evolution of Insect-Transmitted Plant Virus Pathosystems”.   The project will build a research and education partnership with scientists in East Africa to study viral evolution in relationship to the host, the insect vector and the environment with a focus on Cassava mosaic disease. Partners include Rutgers University, Auburn University, NC A&T University, the BecA-ILRI Hub in Kenya, and MARI in Tanzania. (8/12/15)


Congratulations to Jose AlonsoAnna Stepanova and Cranos WIlliams  along with Steffen Heber in Computer Science on the funding of their $3.2 million NSF Plant Genome proposal entitled “Identification of Translational Hormone-Response Gene Networks and cis-Regulatory Elements”.   The work will investigate changes in translation efficiency in Arabidopsis and tomato in response to hormones ethylene and auxin, and uses ribosome footprinting and dynamic modeling of translation-based gene regulatory networks to identify the so-called “genetic hubs” that connect hormone perception with the control of plant growth. (8/12/15)

Congratulations to Ross Sozzani on funding of a $740,000 NSF Career grant entitled “Modelling emergent behaviour of gene networks controlling plant stem cells”. The proposal will investigate the stem cell regulatory networks in the Arabidopsis root by integrating genome-wide approaches with cutting-edge imaging technologies and mathematical modeling.  The project includes development of individualized educational programs for students, promotion of Science Café conversations to facilitate interdisciplinary interactions, and outreach to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. (8/12/15)

Congratulations to Terri Long  and Ross Sozzani on funding of a $500,000 Bilateral BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)- NSF/ Bio grant entitled “Modelling Cellular Differentiation in Plants”.   The grant is a collaborative effort with Yrjo Helariutta of the Sainsbury Lab in the United Kingdom to use mathematical modeling to explore the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic signals on molecular processes involved in root vascular differentiation. (8/12/15)


Congratulations to Terri Long, Amy Grunden, and Colleen Doherty on being highlighted in the summer 2015 Perspectives magazine: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/agcomm/news-center/perspectives/seeding-north-carolinas-future/ (8/12/15)

Congratulations to Ross Sozzani who is featured in the NCSU Results publication focused on the faculty clusters: http://research.ncsu.edu/results/2015/08/work-that-matters/ (8/12/15)

Congratulations to Prof. JoAnn Burkholder, recipient of the Fred A. Harris Fisheries Conservation Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.  It is the highest award in the NCAFS, for service and commitment to the fisheries and aquatic resources of North Carolina. (5/14/15)

 Also of Note