In the Phytotron

Research Opportunities

The faculty members within the department conduct research in a broad array of plant biology and microbiology disciplines, including cell and molecular biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, systems biology, synthetic biology, ecology, systematics, evolutionary biology, conservation and reproductive biology, computational biology and bioinformatics, and ethnobotany.  Our faculty work with model plants and microorganisms, with plants and microbes in natural ecosystems, and with agriculturally important crops. Departmental research programs enjoy national and international reputations, and contribute both to advancing basic understanding of fundamental questions in biology, as well as meeting applied needs in fields such as genetically modified plants, sustainable biofuel production, environmental pollution, and endangered species.  

We benefit at NC State from having a large number of plant biologists and microbiologists on campus in the Center for Integrated Fungal Research, Crop Science, Horticultural Science, Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, Forestry, Plant Pathology and biologists in the COS Biological Sciences Department.  Collaborations with these faculty increase the breadth of our research efforts. 

Information on individual research programs can be found through the links below.

  Cell and Molecular Biology






Evolutionary Biology

Conservation/Reproductive Biology


Interdisciplinary research

  • Ross Sozzani: Systems biology, transcriptional regulatory networks, mathematical modeling of emergent behaviors
  • Terri Long: Systems biology, plant physiology, transcriptional regulatory networks
  • Anna Stepanova:  Inter-tissue organ growth coordination
  • Sirius Li: Metabolomics, genetics, genomics, biofuels and biomaterials
  • Alexander Krings: Specimen - based bioinformatics, weed science
  • Marcela Rojas-Pierce: Chemical genetics
  • Jose M. Bruno-Barcena: Microbial physiology and genetics
  • Bob Franks: Genetic and Genomic Approaches to the Regulation of Organ Development; Understanding mechanisms by which positional cues are coordinated with proliferative cues during organogenesis
  • Heike Sederoff:  Systems biology, computational biology and bioinformatics, biofuels, RNA biology
  • Jose Alonso: Molecular genetics of plant hormone responses
  • Candace Haigler (with Penn State and VPI): Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (Imaging, protein structure, nanobioengineering, computational modling)
  • Thomas Wentworth: Multivariate analysis, ecoinformatics