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Faculty Profile
William Powell

William  Powell


Orange horizontal rule

319 Illick Hall






1995 SUNY-ESF Outstanding Service to the Faculty Award

1997 USDA CSREES Group Honor Award for Excellence, NE140 project

2005 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Research & Scholarship

2006 The American Chestnut Foundation NY Board of Directors Award

2013 Forest Biotechnologist of the Year (from the Institute of Forest Biotechnology)

2014 Exemplary Researcher Award (from SUNY-ESF)

2019 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Research & Scholarship


  • Ph.D., Biology, Utah State University, Logan, UT
  • B.S. with honors, Biology, Salisbury State University, Salisbury, MD

Courses Taught

  • EFB307 Principles of Genetics, 3 credits
  • EFB308 Genetics Lab, 1 credit
  • BTC425/EFB625  Plant Biotechnology, 3 credits
  • BTC497 Research Design & Professional Development

Current Graduate Advisees

Erik CarlsonErik Carlson

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Powell and Newhouse
  • Area of Study: EFB Plant Science & Biotechnology

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

Undergraduate Study:
University of North Dakota (Biology)

Molly HeitMolly Heit

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Powell and Horton
  • Area of Study: EFB Conservation Biology

Leanne HughesLeanne Hughes

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Powell and Newhouse
  • Area of Study: EFB Forest Pathology & Mycology

Joshua MottJoshua Mott

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Powell and Newhouse
  • Area of Study: EFB Plant Science & Biotechnology

Peer Reviewed Journals (past 10 years)

Onwumelu, Anuli, William A. Powell, Andrew E. Newhouse, Garrett Evans, Gwen Hilles, Dakota F. Matthews, Vernon Coffey, and John E. Drake. “Oxalate Oxidase Transgene Expression in American Chestnut Leaves Has Little Effect on Photosynthetic or Respiratory Physiology.” New Forests, April 19, 2022.

Carlson, Erik, Kristen Stewart, Kathleen Baier, Linda McGuigan, Tobi Culpepper II, and William Powell. 2022. Pathogen-induced expression of a blight tolerance transgene in American chestnut. Molecular Plant Pathology. 23:370-382 (open access web publication:

Newhouse, Andrew E., Anastasia E. Allwine, Allison D. Oakes, Dakota F. Matthews, Scott H. McArt, and William A. Powell. 2021. Bumble Bee (Bombus Impatiens) Survival, Pollen Usage, and Reproduction Are Not Affected by Oxalate Oxidase at Realistic Concentrations in American Chestnut (Castanea Dentata) Pollen. Transgenic Research:

Newhouse AE, Powell WA. Intentional introgression of a blight tolerance transgene to rescue the remnant population of American chestnut. Conservation Science and Practice. 2020;e348.

Oakes, Allison D., Hannah C. Pilkey, and William A. Powell. 2020. "Improving ex vitro rooting and acclimatization techniques for micropropagated American chestnut". Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 38:149-157.

McGuigan, Linda, Patrícia Fernandes, Allison Oakes, Kristen Stewart, and William Powell. 2020. “Transformation of American Chestnut (Castanea Dentata (Marsh.) Borkh) Using RITA® Temporary Immersion Bioreactors and We Vitro Containers.” Forests 11: 1196.

Brown, A.J., Newhouse, A.E., Powell, W.A. and Parry, D. 2019 Comparative Efficacy of Gypsy Moth (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) Entomopathogens on Transgenic Blight-tolerant and Wild-type American, Chinese, and Hybrid Chestnuts (Fagales: Fagaceae), Insect Science DOI 10.1111/1744-7917.12713 

Westbrook, J., Holliday, J., Newhouse, A., and Powell, W.  2019.  A plan to diversify a transgenic blight-tolerant American chestnut population using citizen science. Plants, People, Planet

Goldspiel, H. B., Newhouse, A. E., Powell, W. A., & Gibbs, J. P. (2019). Effects of transgenic American chestnut leaf litter on growth and survival of wood frog larvae. Restoration Ecology, 27:371-378

Goldspiel, Harrison, Andrew E. Newhouse, James P. Gibbs, and William A. Powell. 2018. “Effects of Transgenic American Chestnut Leaf Litter on Growth and Survival of Wood Frog Larvae.” Restoration Ecology.  doi:10.1111/rec.12879. link:

Chang, S., Mahon, E. L., MacKay, H. A., Rottmann, W. H., Strauss, S. H., Pijut, P. M., Powell, W.A., Coffey, V., Lu, H.,Mansfield, S.D., Jones, T. J. (2018). Genetic engineering of trees: progress and new horizons. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant

Newhouse, A. E., Oakes, A. D., Pilkey, H. C., Roden, H. E., Horton, T. R., & Powell, W. A. (2018). Transgenic American Chestnuts Do Not Inhibit Germination of Native Seeds or Colonization of Mycorrhizal Fungi. Frontiers in Plant Science9, 1046.

Steiner, KC, JW Westbrook, FV Hebard, Laura L. Georgi, WA Powell, SF Fitzsimmons. 2017. Rescue of American chestnut with extra-specific genes following its destruction by a naturalized pathogen. New Forests. 48:317-336

Oakes, Allison D., Tyler R. Desmarais, William A. Powell, Charles A. Maynard. 2016. "Ex vitro rooting of American chestnut improves acclimatization survival and plantlet quality". Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 34:75-79.

Chen, Shuangshuang, Yu Xing, Teng Wang, Qing Zhang, Wenya Yu, Kefeng Fang, Andrew E. Newhouse, Linda D. McGuigan, Kristen Russell Stewart, Charles A. Maynard, William A. Powell. 2016. Ectomycorrhizae symbiosis in Castanea mollissima improves phosphate acquisition through activating gene expression and H+ efflux. Scientia Horticulturae, 210: 99–107.

Oakes, A.D., T. Desmarais, W.A. Powell, and C.A Maynard. 2016. Improving Rooting and Shoot Tip Survival of Micropropagated Transgenic American Chestnut Shoots. HORTSCIENCE 51:1–6

D’Amico, KM, TR Horton, CA Maynard, SV Stehman, AD. Oakes, and WA Powell.  2014. Assessing Ectomycorrhizal Associations on Transgenic American Chestnut Compared to the Wild-Type, a Conventionally-Bred Hybrid, and Related Fagaceae Species. Appl Environ Microbiol 81:100-108

Newhouse, AE,  LD McGuigan, KA Baier, KE Valletta, WH Rottmann, TJ Tschaplinski, CA Maynard, WA Powell. 2014. Transgenic American chestnuts show enhanced blight resistance and transmit the trait to T1 progeny. Plant Science Volume 228, November 2014, Pages 88–97?.

Newhouse, AE,  JE Spitzer, CA Maynard, WA Powell. 2014. Leaf Inoculation Assay as a Rapid Predictor of Chestnut Blight Susceptibility. Plant Disease 98:4-9

Zhang B, AD Oakes, AE Newhouse, KM Baier, CA Maynard and WA Powell. 2013. A threshold level of oxalate oxidase transgene expression reduces Cryphonectria parasitica - induced necrosis in a transgenic American chestnut (Castanea dentata) leaf bioassay. Transgenic Research 22, Issue 5 (2013), Page 973-982

Nelson, CD, WA Powell, CA Maynard, KM Baier, AE Newhouse, SA Merkle, CJ Nairn, L Kong, JE Carlson, C Addo-Quaye, ME Staton, FV Hebard, LL Georgi, AG Abbott, BA Olukolu. 2013. The Forest Health Initiative, American chestnut (Castanea dentata) as a Model for Forest Tree Restoration: Biological Research Program. Acta Hort (in press)

Oakes, AD, WA Powell, and CA Maynard. 2013. Doubling Acclimatization Survival of Micropropagated American Chestnuts with Darkness and Shortened Rooting Induction Time. J. Environ. Hort. 31(2):77–83

Baier, K.M., C.A. Maynard, and W.A. Powell. 2012. Early flowering in Chestnut species induced under high intensity, high dose light in growth chambers. Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation 26:8-10

Oakes, A.D, N.A. Kazcmar, C.A. Maynard, W.A. Powell. 2012. Vegetative Propagation of American Elm (Ulmus Americana) Varieties from Softwood Cuttings. J. Environ. Hort. 30(2):73–76

Barakat, A., M. Staton, C. Cheng, J. Park, N. B. M. Yassin, S. Ficklin, C. Yeh, F. Hebard, K. Baier, W. Powell, S. C. Schuster, N. Wheeler, A. Abbott, J. E Carlson and R. Sederoff. 2012. Chestnut resistance to the blight disease: insights from transcriptome analysis. BMC Plant Biology 2012, 12:38 

D’Amico, T. Horton, C. Maynard, and W. Powell. 2011. Assessing ectomycorrhizal associations and transgene expression in transgenic Castanea dentata. (Extended abstract for the IUFRO meeting in 2011) BioMed Central (BMC) Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 7):O54

Zhang, B., A. Newhouse, L. McGuigan, C. Maynard, and W. Powell. 2011. Agrobacterium- mediated co-transformation of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) somatic embryos with a wheat oxalate oxidase gene. (Extended abstract for the

Sisco, P.H., Sederoff, R.R., Tomkins, J.P., Carlson, J.E., Kubisiak, T.L., Staton, M.E., Hebard, F.V., Anagnostakis, S.L., Powell, W.A. and Smith, C.P. 2009. The United States National Science Foundation project on developing tools for the study of the Fagaceae: Castanea, Quercus, and Fagus. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 844:267-274

Barakat, A., D. S. DiLoreto, Y. Zhang, C. Smith, K. Baier, W. A. Powell, N. Wheeler, R. Sederoff, J. E. Carlson.  2009.  Comparison of the transcriptomes of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) and Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) in response to the chestnut blight infection. BMC Plant Biology. 9:51 (pp. 1-11)

Newhouse, A.E., F. Schrodt, H. Liang, C.A. Maynard, W.A. Powell. 2007. Transgenic American Elm Shows Reduced Dutch Elm Disease Symptoms and Normal Mycorrhizal Colonization. Plant Cell Reports 26:977-987

Welch, A.J., C.A. Maynard, A.J. Stipanovic, and W.A. Powell. 2007. The effects of oxalic acid on transgenic Castanea dentata callus tissue expressing oxalate oxidase.  Plant Science 172:488-496

Powell, W. A., P. Morley, M. King and C. A. Maynard. 2007. Small stem chestnut blight resistance assay. Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation 21(2): 34-38

Rothrock, R., L. McGuigan, A. Newhouse, W.A. Powell and C.A. Maynard.  2007. Plate Flooding as an Alternative Agrobacterium-Mediated Transformation Method for American Chestnut Somatic Embryos. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 88:93-99

Merkle, S.A., G.M. Andrade, C.J. Nairn, W.A. Powell and C.A. Maynard. 2007. Restoration of threatened species: a noble cause for transgenic trees.  Tree Genetics and Genomes 3:111-118

Lab Technicians

Polin L.D., H. Liang, R. Rothrock, M. Nishii, D. Diehl, A. Newhouse, C.J. Nairn, W. A. Powell, and C.A. Maynard.  2006. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.) somatic embryos. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture. 84: 69-79

Powell, W.A., S.A. Merkle, H. Liang, and C.A. Maynard. 2005. Blight Resistance Technologies: Transgenic Approaches. In, proc. of conf. on restoration of American chestnut to forest lands, Steiner, K.C. and J.E. Carlson (eds.)Connors, B.J., M. Miller, C.A. Maynard, and W.A. Powell. 2002.  American chestnut promoters capable of directing reporter gene expression in transgenic Arabidopsis plants.  Plant Science 163:771-781

Liang, H., H. Gao, C.A. Maynard, and W.A. Powell. 2005. Expression of a self-processing, putative pathogen resistance-enhancing gene construct in Arabidopsis. Biotech. L. 27:435-442

Book Chapters

Alphey, L., Bennet, E., Delborne, J., Eggermont, H., Esvelt, K., Kingirl, A., Kokotovich, A., Kolodziejczyk, B., Kuiken, T., Mead, A., Oliva, M., Perello, E., Slobodian, L., Thizy, D., Tompkins, D., Winter, G., Campbell, K., Elsensohn, J., Holmes, N., Farmer, C., Keitt, B., Leftwich, P., Maloney, T., Masiga, D., Newhouse, A., Novak, B., Phelan, R., Powell, W., Rollins-Smith, L. and van Oppen, M. (2019). Genetic frontiers for conservation:An assessment of synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation (K. Redford, T. Brooks, N. Macfarlane, & J. Adams, Eds.). IUCN.

Powell WA, Newhouse AE, Coffey V. 2019. Developing blight-tolerant American chestnut trees., In Perspectives on Engineering Plant for Agriculture, P. Arnold Editor, Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol, doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a034587 

Nelson, C.D., W.A. Powell, S.A. Merkle, J.E. Carlson, F.V. Hebard, N. Islam-Faridi, M.E. Staton, L. Georgi. 2014. Chestnut.  In: K. Ramawat, J.M. Merillon, M.R. Ahuja (eds), Tree Biotechnology, Chapter 1. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA (accepted, August 2013).

Liang, H, P.A. Kumar, V. Nain, W.A. Powell, J.E. Carlson.  Selection and Screening Strategies. Chapter 4. In: C. Kole, C.H. Michler, A.G. Abbott and T,C. Hall (eds) Transgenic Crop Plants: Volume 1: Principles and Development. Springer-Verlag – Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Tokyo, 2010, pp 85-144

Andrew E. Newhouse, Nicholas S. Kaczmar, Charles A. Maynard and William A. Powell.  American Elm, in Kole, C. and Hall, T. C. (eds.), “Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants: Transgenic Forest Tree Species”, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2008, pp 241-262.

Maynard, C.A., W.A. Powell, L.D. Polin-McGuigan, A.M. Viéitez,  A. Ballester, E. Corredoira, S.A. Merkle and G.M. Andrade (2008) Chestnut. In: Kole, C., Hall, T.C. (eds.) “A Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants: Forest Tree Species”, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2008. Pp169-192

Powell, W.A., C.A. Maynard, B. Boyle, and A. Seguin. (2006).  Fungal and bacterial resistance in transgenic trees.  Pages 235-252. In: M. Fladung and D. Ewald, Eds., Tree Transgenics, Recent Developments.  Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, Germany. 357p.

Newhouse, A., F. Schrodt, C. Maynard, and W. Powell. (2006). American elm (Ulmus americana). Pages 99-112  In: K. Wang, Ed., Agrobacterium Protocols: (2nd edition) Methods in Molecular Biology Book Series #344, Humana Press, Inc., Totowa, NJ. 485 pages

Maynard, C.A., L. D. Polin, S. LaPierre, R. E. Rothrock, and W. A. Powell. (2006). American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.). pages 239-251.  In: K. Wang, Ed., Agrobacterium Protocols: (2nd edition) Methods in Molecular Biology Book Series #344, Humana Press, Inc., Totowa, NJ.

Non-Refereed Journals

Maynard, C.A., Powell, W.A., and McGuigan, L.D. (2007) Bringing Back the American Chestnut through Biotechnology. Hardwood Matters: National Hardwood Lumber Association Magazine, 66: 20-21.

Powell, W.A., S.A. Merkle, H. Liang, and C.A. Maynard. 2005. Blight Resistance Technologies: Transgenic Approaches. In, proc. of conf. on restoration of American chestnut to forest lands, Steiner, K.C. and J.E. Carlson (eds.) (

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