e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Plant Science and BiotechnologyArea of Study for M.S., M.P.S. or Ph.D. in Environmental and Forest Biology

plant science and biotech Apply

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

  • Martin Dovciak; mdovciak@esf.edu
    Plant Ecology, Forest Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Global Change, Ecosystem Management and 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, eDNA, microbial water quality, microbial source-tracking, SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, forest soil nitrification, Hg-methylation
  • 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
  • Gregory McGee; ggmcgee@esf.edu
    ecology, management and restoration of forest ecosystems; STEM education
  • Lee Newman; lanewman@esf.edu
    phytoremediation, molecular and cellular biology, horticultural therapy, food and health
  • 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
  • John C. Stella; stella@esf.edu
    riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restoration, arid-land and Mediterranean ecosystems
  • Steven L. Voelker; slvoelke@esf.edu

Current Graduate Students in Plant Science and Biotechnology


Current Students Only currently registered students appear — new names appear at start of academic year


Erik Carlson

Erik Carlson

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

Graduate Research Topic
Characterization and utilization of biotechnologies in American Chestnut (Castanea dentata).

Undergraduate Study:
University of North Dakota (Biology)



Adam Doniger

Adam Doniger

adoniger@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fernando
Undergraduate Institution: CUNY Queens College (Biology)

Graduate Research Topic
Genetic diversity of beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata) around Lake Ontario.

Favorite Quote
"The commonest way in which we deceive either ourselves or others about understanding is by assuming something as familiar, and accepting it on that account; with all its pros and cons, such knowing never gets anywhere, and it knows not why." - G.W.F. Hegel



Lukas Evans

Lukas Evans

ljevans@syr.edu
Plant Science & Biotechnology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fernando
Undergraduate Institution: Cazenovia College

Plant Biotechnology
Genetic transformation of willow species for use in biofuel production.



Amalia Kenyon

Amalia Kenyon

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

Graduate Research Topic
Phytoremediation of per-and polyfluoroalkyl compounds using wetland and phreatophytic plants. Development of novel non-invasive detection methods to identify environmental contaminants.



Joshua Mott

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


Andrew Newhouse

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



Hannah Pilkey

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