Department of
Plant Biology

Plant Biology News

Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

Eight faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list, a global listing of scientists who produced the past decade’s most influential papers, compiled by the Web of Science group, a Clarivate Analytics company. Three investigators with SIB's Plant Biology Department are among those named: Stephen Long recognized for over twenty-five thousand cross-field citations, Donald Ort for Plant and Animal Science citations, and Elizabeth Ainsworth for her high level of cross-field impact.

Professor Lisa Ainsworth elected AAAS Fellow

Eight professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to include Plant Biology's Lisa Ainsworth, have been elected 2019 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ainsworth is the research leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit.

Bill Gates wants to hack photosynthesis

What: “Tuning up photosynthesis” a hybrid scientific-explainer-slash-music-video created by the Gates Foundation to popularize the idea plants can be engineered in ways that improve upon nature.

Who: This work is being pioneered by RIPE—the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency project with ties to the University of Illinois and eight other national and international research institutions.

Researcher Spotlight: Katy Heath, Ph.D.

With the Researcher Spotlight, the Microbial Systems Initiative aims to introduce its readers to the breadth and diversity of research interests and potential growth opportunities on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Katy Heath, PhD, is an associate professor of Plant Biology in the School of Integrative Biology and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Research in the Heath Lab for Coevolutionary Genomics focuses on the evolution of mutualisms, which are most generally defined as species interactions that increase the fitness of both (or all) partners.

Fire-spawned forest fungi hide out in other organisms, study finds

Fire-loving fungi are among the first organisms to appear on the forest floor after a fire, followed closely by mosses and lichens.

Study provides framework for one billion years of green plant evolution

Gene sequences for more than 1100 plant species have been released by an international consortium of nearly 200 plant scientists, the culmination of a nine-year research project.

Study finds rising ozone a hidden threat to corn

A new study reveals genetic differences that influence how corn responds to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone.

Pineapple genome sequences hint at plant domestication in single step

As their Latin name indicates, pineapples are truly “excellent fruits”—and thanks to a freshly completed genome sequencing project, researchers have gained a new understanding of how human agriculture has shaped the evolution of this and other crops.

Andrew Leakey discusses climate change with CNN

Climate change is already having a negative impact on our food supply.

Gene found that could play role in improving photosynthesis

A single protein has been identified to play a role in improving photosynthesis under high concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a study published in in silico Plants. The protein, known as Gm-GATA2, is predicted to overcome limitations imposed by photosynthetic acclimation under elevated CO2 levels—and is a promising candidate for research into how we can better prepare for a future impacted by climate change.