School of
Integrative Biology
Andrew D.B. Leakey

1402 IGB
Office: 217-244-0302

Mail: 1206 W. Gregory Dr. Urbana IL. 61801
Lab Page

Andrew D.B. Leakey
Professor and Head - Plant Biology
Director - Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation


B.Sc. 1998, University of Sheffield
Ph.D. 2003, University of Sheffield
Fulbright Scholar 2002-2003, UIUC
Postdoc. 2003-2004, University of Illinois
Research Fellow 2004-2007, Institute for Genomic Biology

Teaching Interests

IB 440, Plants and Global Change

Integrative plant physiology, genetics and genomics; plant water use efficiency, photosynthesis and carbon metabolism; crop responses to elevated CO2, drought, temperature and ozone; crop sustainability and responses to global environmental change

Our research broadly addresses the need to improve mechanistic understanding of:

(1) Plant water use efficiency, photosynthesis, respiration and water relations; (2) Plant responses in natural and agricultural ecosystems to global environmental change; and (3) Adaptation of food and fuel crops to global environmental change, especially drought

This will enhance understanding of how the environment impacts ecosystem goods and services and advance efforts to improve and protect crop production and water cycling. To do this we perform vertically integrated phenotyping of plant carbon and water relations by combining genetic, molecular, biochemical, physiological and ecological tools to assess plant performance in manipulative field experiments and controlled environment conditions.

The major focus of our group at present is to understand the genetic and physiological controls of stomatal patterning and photosynthetic water use efficiency (WUE) through a combination of molecular genetics, quantitative genetics, and physiology. This has practical application through our efforts to use biotechnology and breeding to enhance WUE through manipulation of stomatal patterning. The project will benefit substantially from significant advances made by our team and collaborators in recent years in: (1) high-throughput phenotyping of stomatal patterning and stomatal conductance, (2) development of transgenic germplasm and natural diversity collections, and (3) a new large-scale field facility for imposing drought treatments.


Fulbright Scholar (2002)
Beckman Fellow (2011)
I.C. Gunsalus Fellow (2013)
Calvin-Benson Award for Early Career Excellence in Photosynthesis Research (2016)
University Scholar (2017)
AAAS Fellow (2019)
Massengale Lecturer, CSSA (2020)
Teacher Ranked Excellent by Students (2020, 2018, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007)

Representative Publications

K GÅ‚owacka, J Kromdijk, K Kucera, J Xie, AP Cavanagh, L Leonelli, ADB Leakey, DR Ort, KK Niyogi, SP Long (2018). PsbS Overexpression Increases the Efficiency of Water Use in a Field-Grown Crop. Nature Communications 9:868

D Banan, RE Paul, MJ Feldman, M Holmes, H Schlake, H Jiang, I Baxter, ADB Leakey (2018) High fidelity detection of QTL hotspots for crop biomass production from low cost imaging in the field. Plant Direct 2: DOI: 10.1002/pld3.41

Z Jin, EA Ainsworth, ADB Leakey, DB Lobell (2018) Increasing drought will diminish the benefits of elevated carbon dioxide for soybean yields across the US Midwest. Global Change Biology 24:E522-E533.

KJ Wolz, TM Wertin, M Abordo, D Wang, ADB Leakey (2017) Variation in stomatal function is integral to modeling plant carbon and water fluxes. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1:1292-1298

SB Gray, O Dermody, SP Klein, AM Locke, JM McGrath, RE Paul, DM Rosenthal, UM Ruiz-Vera, MH Siebers, R Strellner, EA Ainsworth, CJ Bernacchi, SP Long, DR Ort, ADB Leakey (2016) Intensifying drought eliminates the expected benefits of elevated [CO2] for soybean. Nature Plants doi:10.1038/nplants.2016.132

SS Myers, A Zanobetti, I Kloog, P Huybers, ADB Leakey, A Bloom, E Carlisle, LH Dietterich, G Fitzgerald, T Hasegawa, NM Holbrook, RL Nelson, MJ Ottman, V Raboy, H Sakai, KA Sartor, J Schwartz, S Seneweera, M Tausz, Y Usui (2014) Rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 threatens human nutrition. Nature. 510:139-143

RJC Markelz, LX Lai, LN Vossler, ADB Leakey (2014) Transcriptional reprogramming and stimulation of leaf respiration by elevated CO2 concentration is diminished, but not eliminated, under limiting nitrogen supply. Plant, Cell & Environment 37:886-898.

ADB Leakey, JA Lau (2012) Evolutionary context for understanding and manipulating plant responses to past, present and future atmospheric [CO2]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367: 613-629.

ADB Leakey, EA Ainsworth, CJ Bernacchi, A Rogers, SP Long & DR Ort (2009) Elevated CO2 effects on plant carbon, nitrogen and water relations: six important lessons from FACE. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 2859-2876.

ADB Leakey, F-Xu, K Gillespie, J McGrath, EA Ainsworth, DR Ort (2009) Genomic basis for stimulated respiration by plants growing under elevated carbon dioxide. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 3597-3602

Complete Publications List