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Plant Science and Biotechnology

M.S., M.P.S. & Ph.D.

plant science and biotech

Plants, as the base for ecological food chains, serve as the structural and functional foundation of natural and managed systems. The study of plant science and biotechnology provides opportunity in a broad range of specialties fundamental to the understanding of plants and their interaction with other organisms and for specializing in plant biotechnology.

Emphasis is on forests and related plant systems. Current research interests include dynamics of plant communities as affected by humans and the environment; mechanisms of plant succession; epidemiology of forest and urban tree diseases; taxonomy, physiology, growth and ultrastructure of fungi; heritability of wood properties and disease resistance of trees; biochemistry and physiology of plant stress response; photosynthesis; mycorrhizae; plant reproductive biology; genetic engineering; transformation; molecular evolution; phylogenetics; taxonomy; plant-pathogen interactions, tissue culture and study of ancient DNA.

Participating Faculty

  • John D. Castello; jdcastello@esf.edu
    plant virology, viruses and mycoplasma in urban and forest tree decline, forest pathology, microbiology, insect vectors
  • Martin Dovciak; mdovciak@esf.edu
    Plant Ecology, Forest Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Global Change, Ecosystem Management & Restoration
  • Danilo D. Fernando; dfernando@esf.edu
    plant structure and development, reproductive biology of conifers, pollen transformation, genomics and proteomics of pine pollen tube development, willow flowering and tissue culture, genetic diversity of rare and endangered ferns, and plant evolution, diversity and conservation.
  • Hyatt Green; hgreen@esf.edu
    Molecular Microbial Ecology, Microbial Water Quality, Microbial Biogeography, Host-Microbe Co-evolution, Fermentation Microbiology
  • Thomas R. Horton; trhorton@esf.edu
    mycorrhizal plant ecology, molecular ecology, ecology, fungal communities, mycology, fire ecology
  • Robin W. Kimmerer; rkimmer@esf.edu
    plant restoration ecology, bryology, bryoecology, restoration ecology, ethnobotany, conservation biology and bryophyte ecology, traditional ecological knowledge
  • Donald J. Leopold; djleopold@esf.edu
    forest and freshwater wetland ecology, conservation, and restoration, peatland ecology and conservation, local and regional controls of species richness and rarity, dynamics of plant communities as affected by man and environment, management for unique communities and rare species, dendrology, native plants, restoration ecology, rare species conservation
  • Charles A. Maynard; cmaynard@syr.edu
    Research Areas of Interest plant tissue culture, genetic engineering a blight-resistant the American chestnut, conventional forest genetics & tree improvement, forest ecology, forest health, restoration ecology
  • Gregory McGee; ggmcgee@esf.edu
    ecology, management and restoration of forest ecosystems; STEM education
  • Lee Newman; lanewman@esf.edu
    phytoremediation and molecular and cellular biology
  • William A. Powell; wapowell@esf.edu
    forest biotechnology, molecular plant-microbe interactions, genetic engineering in plant conservation, antimicrobial peptide design, plant gene design, plant pathology, molecular biology

Current Graduate Students in Plant Science and Biotechnology


Only currently registered students appear—new student names are added at the start of the academic year.

Charlotte Atti

cmatti@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Newman


Yokshitha Reddy Bathula

ybathula@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Powell


Wenjun Cai

wcai02@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Newman


Erik Carlson

Erik Carlson

ehcarlso@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Powell

Graduate Research Topic
Utilization of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system to increase heritability of blight resistance in American Chestnut (Castanea dentata).

Undergraduate Study:
University of North Dakota (Biology)



Tyler Desmarais

trdesmar@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Powell


Adam Hoffman

Adam Hoffman

ashoffma@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Newman
Undergraduate Institute: University of South Carolina Columbia* (Biology)

Previous Graduate Study: University of South Carolina Columbia* (Environmental Health)



Dakota Matthews

dfmatthe@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Powell


Justin McMullen

jcmcmull@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Newman


Andrew Newhouse

aenewhou@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Powell

Graduate Research Topic
Regulatory Biotechnology, focusing on the federal review process for genetically engineered plants to be distributed or used for restoration.

Home Page
Web Link



Camille Warner

ciwarner@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Newman


Joshua Weber-Townsend

Joshua Weber-Townsend

jrwebert@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fernando

Graduate Research Topic
My research utilizes microsatellite based molecular markers to analyze the genetic diversity and population structure of the federally threatened American hart's-tongue fern throughout the eastern United States and Canada.



Xueqing Xiong

xxiong04@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Powell



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