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2431 Joe Johnson Dr.
Univ of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-4561

(865)974-7139 ph
(865)974-7164 fax

Tennessee Plant Research Center

PRC Faculty

Hem S. Bhandari ,Ph. D

      Department of Plant Sciences
      Research in Dr. Bhandari’s lab is focused on genetic improvement of biomass/feedstock crops by integrating conventional selection methodologies and molecular genetics.

Brad Binder ,Ph. D

     Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
      Research in the Binder lab focuses on ethylene signal transduction.

Jessica Budke, Ph. D

      Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Research in our lab focuses on the development, evolution,             and function of plant structures in early plant lineages, including bryophytes and ferns. We study morphological           features that are used to distinguish species taxonomically and those that are important for reproduction and               fitness. Dr. Budke is also the Director of the UTK herbarium.

Tessa Burch-Smith ,Ph. D

      Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
      The broad focus of the Burch-Smith Lab is the fundamental process of intercellular transport between plant cells.

Barry D, Bruce,Ph. D

       Department of Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology & Chemical and
       Biomolecular Engineering

       Research areas: chloroplast biogenesis, protein transport, photosynthesis
       cyanobacteria, Bioenergy.

Feng Chen, Ph.D

       Department of Plant Sciences
       Research in the Chen lab is centered around functional genomics of plant metabolism.

Jennifer Franklin, Ph.D

      Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
      Research in the Tennessee Tree Physiology lab investigates abiotic stress on trees, tree-soil interactions, and       forest restoration.

David P. Harper , Ph.D

       Forest Products Center
       Research in the Harper Group is involved in development of technologies that will foster the use and economic        viability of materials derived from renewable sources for a sustainable and more secure future is centered        around functional genomics of plant metabolism.

Tarek Hewezi, Ph.D

     Department of Plant Sciences The Hewezi laboratory is interested in deciphering the mechanisms of action of cyst        and root-knot nematode effectors and their impact on plant growth and development. His laboratory is also                interested in understanding the epigenetic regulation of plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses in Arabidopsis      and soybean by combining molecular biology with cell biology, biochemistry, genetic and genomic approaches.            This research program is expected to determine cellular components of plant growth and defense signaling that          directly or indirectly interact with each other. Interrupting this association will lay the foundation for new                      approaches to increase plant performance, yield and defense simultaneously.

Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes, Ph.D

      Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
      Research in the Jurat-Fuentes laboratory is focused in two main areas: (1) Characterization of the mode of action       bacterial toxins expressed in transgenic plants for insect control and potential alterations in resistant insects and      (2) Identification of novel cellulolytic enzymes to enhance degradation of lignocellulosic plant biomass during       biofuel production.   

Charles Kwit, Ph.D

      Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
      Dr. Kwit’s research interests include gene flow and introgression, and conservation biology, as well as plant-animal interactions, habitat management, disturbance ecology, and climate change.

Niki Labbe, Ph.D

      Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
      The overall goal of Labbé’s research program will directly help advance the mission and vision of the Center for       Renewable Carbon, Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Tennessee.

Kurt Lamour, Ph.D

      Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
      Dr. Lamour studies a destructive group of fungal-like plant pathogens that cause serious damage to a huge       variety of plants worldwide.

Sarah Lebeis, Ph.D

      Department of Microbiology The research performed in this laboratory brings together microbiology, immunology,         and metagenomics to further understand microbial communities associated with plants. Microbes found in roots           perform a variety of functions for their host, including: nutrient acquisition, growth promotion, and disease                   prevention. We will determine how the immune system in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana acts to exclude           microbes from joining communities found in root systems. Although a wide diversity of microbes are present in the       soil, only limited microbial taxa can colonize inside of the root tissue, indicating that microbes found in the root             tissue must pass through several levels of selection. Together, these studies will partially dissect the complex               relationship that exists between hosts and their microbial communities and extend our understanding of host               immune systems.

Madhavi Martin, Ph.D.

      Oak Ridge National Laboratory
      Dr. Madhavi Martin is pursuing R&D in the design, fabrication, and testing of environmental sensors       specifically for chemical and biological applications.

Brandon Matheny, PhD

      Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      We use natural history collections and molecular sequence data to identify fungal biodiversity and to preform       phylogeny reconstruction, particularly of mushroom-forming fungi

Andreas Nebenfuhr, Ph.D.

       Co-director of the Plant Research Center
       Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
       Nebenfuhr’s lab research centers around intracellular transport processes.

Bonnie Ownley, Ph.D.

     Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology  Systems approaches to plant disease management in organic and      sustainable agriculture Biological control of soilborne pathogens with entomopathogenic fungi Development of bio-        based products for plant disease control Etiology and impact of diseases of switchgrass

Vince Pantalone, Ph.D.
       Department of Plant Sciences
      Dr. Pantalone is responsible for the Univeristy of Tennessee AgResearch Soybean breeding and genetics program

Dan Roberts, Ph.D.

       Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
       Dr. Robert's lab studies the role of the nodulin protein Nod26 in metabolism and osmoregulation in nitrogen fixing root nodules and evaluation of the roles of Arabidopsis NIPs in metalloid nutrition and adaptation to hypoxia stress 

Elena Shpak, Ph.D

      Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
     Dr.Shpak is interested in the cellular mechanisms of growth and development in plants.

Randall Small, Ph.D

    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Research in my lab focuses on patterns of genetic diversity within       and among species, and how we can use genetic data to understand species boundaries, speciation, and                      phylogenetic relationships.

Margaret Staton, Ph.D

   Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
      Research interest is the development of bioinformatic strategies to integrate, analyze and disseminate large plant genomic and transcriptomic datasets, especially those from hardwood trees.

Neal Stewart, Ph.D

       Co-director of the Plant Research Center
       Department of Plant Sciences
       Stewart’s lab research is interested in plant biotechnology and genomics. 

Elizabeth Schussler, PhD

      Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Dr. Schussler's research interests are in student learning and       teaching of plants.

Jen Schweitzer, Ph. D

.    Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Dr. Schweitzer's research is broadly centered on the genetic interactions between species and the ecological and      evolutionary consequences of these interactions for ecosystem processes.

Albrecht Vonarnim, PhD

     Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular biology
     Dr. Vornarnim's lad focuses on BRET, Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer.

Joseph (Joe) Williams, Ph. D.

       Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      Dr. Williams' studies the evolution of development of plant reproduction.