FSU Biology - Faculty Research Interests - Plant Sciences

Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Plant Sciences

  • Hank W. Bass
    Meiosis in higher plants; telomere dynamics; molecular cytology; maize chromatin, nuclease sensitivity profiling, G4-DNA, and genome research in maize and hop.

  • 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
    My research program involves topics within the broadly defined area of biodiversity study. I am particularly interested in (1) the interplay of ecology and evolution that determines the form and function of plant life on Earth and (2) the use of biodiversity research specimens and digital information about them to bring that interplay into sharper focus.

  • Kathryn M. Jones
    I study the symbiotic interaction of nitrogen-fixing rhizobial bacteria with legume host plants: 1)How bacteria manipulate their environment during host plant invasion such that the plant not only permits entry, but provides an invasion pathway for them; 2)Why the interactions of specific strains of Sinorhizobium with particular Medicago truncatula plant ecotypes are more productive than others; 3)How plants direct resources to productive symbionts at the expense of unproductive ones (cheaters).

  • Steven Lenhert
    Biological membranes; cell-substrate interactions; bionanotechnology.

  • Karen M. McGinnis
    Epigenetic gene regulation in maize.

  • Alice A. Winn
    I am interested in how plants adapt to environments that vary in time and space, and how this contributes to patterns of phenotypic variation within and among individuals and populations. Major topics of research in my lab include the ecology and evolution of phenotypic plasticity, processes that promote or inhibit local adaptation, and the evolution of plant mating systems.


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.