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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Plant Sciences

  • Hank W. Bass
    Telomeres, meiosis, and chromatin structure in maize through genetics, genomics, and 3D molecular cytology.

  • George W. Bates
    Plant cell and molecular biology; cell fusion, transformation, recombinant DNA, and plant cell culture.

  • Hongchang Cui
    Cell fate specification and reprogramming in plants; evolutionary and developmental biology; plant-environment interaction; genomics and epigenomics; proteomics; molecular genetics.

  • Jonathan H. Dennis
    The biology of chromatin involved in the innate immune response.

  • Austin Mast
    Plant systematics, evolution, ecology, and biogeography.

  • Kathryn M. Jones
    Rhizobial/plant symbiotic interactions.

  • Laura R. Keller
    Molecular genetics; signal transduction and regulation of gene expression.

  • Steven Lenhert
    Lipid membranes; cell-surface interactions; bionanotechnology.

  • Karen M. McGinnis
    Molecular genetics; genomics; epigenetic regulation of gene expression in plants.

  • Alice A. Winn
    Plant population ecology and evolution.



The faculty consists of biologists from several areas who meet weekly in a seminar series. Research opportunities in plant biology are diverse but focus on basic plant mechanisms. Research related to Ecology & Evolutionary Biology includes the study of: 1) the role of competition in plant population evolution, 2) the genetics of environmental adaptation, and 3) the taxonomy and systematics of the Asteraceae and north Florida's rare and endangered plants. This research is facilitated by our proximity to the Apalachicola National Forest, Gulf of Mexico, and Tall Timbers Research Station.

Research related to cell biology includes the study of water oxidation and photoinhibition in PSII and stomatal-aperture regulation. Molecular Biology & Genetics-related research focuses on signal transduction & gene expression regulation in Chlamydomonas, the molecular genetics of meiosis & chromosome pairing in maize and arabidopsis, and hormonal regulation of plant growth and development (plant transformation and genetic engineering). Special facilities (e.g. herbarium, greenhouse facilities, controlled-environment, plant-growth facility) supplement standard departmental research facilities, enhancing our research capabilities.