Department of
Plant Biology

Plant Biology News

Illinois scientists rank among world's most influential

Nine researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence – reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. This year’s list includes 6,938 individuals from around the world whose papers rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science.

CABBI Team Adds Powerful New Dimension to Phenotyping Next-Gen Bioenergy Crop

Miscanthus is one of the most promising perennial crops for bioenergy production since it is able to produce high yields with a small environmental footprint. This versatile grass has great potential to perform even better, as much less effort has been put into improving it through breeding relative to established commodity crops such as maize or soybean.

"Contrary to commonly accepted standards of morality"

A plant biologist’s views on sex triggered a storm of protest and debate on academic freedom

The story of Leo Koch is best understood in a 1960 frame of mind. That year, John F. Kennedy was running for president and Westerns such as Gunsmoke and Wagon Trail were the top shows on television. The eventual hit song “I’m sorry” was stalled in studios over concerns that the singer, Brenda Lee, was singing about love in a way unbecoming of a 15-year-old.

Govindjee receives Lifetime Achievement Award for photosynthesis research

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign plant biology professor emeritus Govindjee is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Photosynthesis Research, an honor he shares with Eva-Mari Aro, a professor emeritus of molecular plant biology at the University of Turku, in Finland.

Exploring the genetic switchboard of plants

Amy Marshall-Colon researches how to help crops survive a rapidly changing environment

How can we help our crops and plants survive in an increasingly hot and unpredictable environment? Amy Marshall-Colon, a professor of plant biology at the U of I who recently received the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, thinks that by looking into gene structures, scientists can help plants help themselves.

New Rabinowitch Lecture Series honors pioneering University of Illinois biophysicist

The Departments of Plant Biology and Biochemistry are pleased to announce the creation of the Rabinowitch Lecture Series, which will feature guest speakers who have made key achievements in the two fields.

Understanding the genomic modifications in transgenic papaya

The transgenic papaya “SunUp” was developed in the 1990s and was widely publicized because of its ability to resist the papaya ringspot virus. Although researchers from the Ming group had identified the genomic sequence of SunUp by 2008, it was unclear where the transgenic insertions were and what effect they had. A new study has now identified these changes and how they influence the transgenic plants.

Thawing permafrost is roiling the Arctic landscape

Thawing permafrost is roiling the Arctic landscape, driven by a hidden world of changes beneath the surface as the climate warms.

Across the Arctic, strange things are happening to the landscape.

Massive lakes, several square miles in size, have disappeared in the span of a few days. Hillsides slump. Ice-rich ground collapses, leaving the landscape wavy where it once was flat, and in some locations creating vast fields of large, sunken polygons.

New estimation strategy improves soil carbon sampling in agricultural fields

There is much more carbon stored in Earth’s soil than in its atmosphere. A significant portion of this soil carbon is in organic form (carbon bound to carbon), called soil organic carbon (SOC). Notably, unlike the inorganic carbon in soils, the amount of SOC, and how quickly it is built up or lost, can be influenced by humans. Since its advent about 10,000 years ago, agriculture has caused a significant amount of SOC to be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.

House Committee Holds Hearing on Bioenergy RD&D for the Fuels and Chemicals of Tomorrow

On March 16, 2022, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “Bioenergy Research and Development for the Fuels and Chemicals of Tomorrow.” According to the hearing charter, the purpose of the hearing was to examine the status of bioenergy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities carried out by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).