Principal Investigator
The Boss

Dr. Sarah Assmann

Waller Professor of Biology

Dr. Assmann is interested in studying the mechanisms by which plants sense abiotic environmental stresses, and how they respond to and tolerate those stresses. Her research has a specific focus on drought and high temperature and the relationship that those factors have to agriculture.

Researchers
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Dr. David Chakravorty

Assistant Research Professor

David works on novel aspects of G protein signaling. From G protein subunit phosphorylation, to nucleotide-independent signaling, to extra-large subunits, he is using plants to discover and study previously unknown G protein signaling mechanisms.

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Dr. Ángel Ferrero-Serrano

Assistant Research Professor

Ángel is interested in local adaptation in crops. Initial research is executed in Arabidopsis, but according to the Chakravorty Test, it is inedible and thus serves as a translational approach for crop improvement. Ángel's aim is to identify loci as a genetic basis of local adaption in naturally evolving species and apply this insight to the growing pool of compiled genetic traits for thousands of crop varieties.

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Dr. Hong-Li Chou

Postdoctoral Researcher

Hong-Li's current research is focused on the role of RNA binding proteins for plant development and RNA structure changes under environmental stress stimulations. Several RBP candidates were chosen for the identification of gene regulation network and for the study of RNA structurome mechanisms in rice and Arabidopsis.

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Dr. Palanivelu Sengottaiyan

Postdoctoral Researcher

Palani is currently investigating how G protein signaling interconnects with other known ABA and CO2 signaling components of guard cells using a combination of molecular, biochemical, and physiological based approaches.

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Dr. Yotam Zait

Postdoctoral Researcher

Yotam's work aims to elucidate the mechanisms by which guard cells and mesophyll cells respond to different environmental conditions such as drought, CO2, VPD, and blue light. His focus is on investigating the physiological and the genetic basis of stomatal conductance and mesophyll conductance in rice and Arabidopsis.

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Dave Arginteanu

Research Technologist

With extensive research and managing experience, Dave oversees the wet lab and plant growth chambers for the Assmann lab.


Graduate Students
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Megan Sylvia

Ph.D. Student

Megan is a Plant Biology graduate student co-advised by Dr. Bevilacqua. Her research aims to determine the role RNA structure plays in the environmental stress response of crop plants.

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Christian Cantos

Ph.D. Student

Christian is committed to improving stress tolerance in rice varieties using CRISPR and other genome editing tools. He is characterizing the CRISPR-knockout of XLG proteins in rice and identifying their role in drought stress response. He also works on harnessing the natural variants of rice RGA1 and XLGs by identifying novel haplotypes across the rice 3K diversity panel.

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Yunqing Zhou

Ph.D. Student

Yunqing is a Ph.D. candidate in the MCIBS program and is co-advised by Dr. Assmann and Dr. Jegla. His research focuses on investigating the gating and modulation mechanisms of plant voltage-gated K+ channels using molecular and electrophysiology tools.

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Jessica Walnut

Ph.D. Student

Jessica is a Plant Biology graduate student and studies G protein signaling in rice.

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David Yu

Ph.D. Student

David Yu is a Biology graduate student co-advised by Dr. Bevilacqua. He is investigating the role of RNA modifications in abiotic stress response of rice.


Collaborators
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Professor Réka Albert

Penn State, Depts. of Physics & Biology

Professor Albert is an expert on analyzing biological networks and collaborates on systems biology projects with the Assmann lab.

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Professor Paul Babitzke

Penn State, Dept. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Professor Babitzke's research group is investigating the functional role of RNA structures in prokaryotes.

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Professor Phil Bevilacqua

Penn State, Dept. of Chemistry

Professor Bevilacqua is co-leader of the Structure-seq team.

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Professor Jimmy Botella

University of Queensland, Dept. of Agriculture & Food Sciences

Professor Botella is an expert in genetic engineering and heterotrimeric G-protein signaling in plants.

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Professor Sixue Chen

University of Florida, Dept. of Biology

Professor Chen serves as Director of the UF Proteomics Facility and is interested in the proteomics and metabolomics of plant signaling in response to the environment.

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Dr. Amelia Henry

International Rice Research Institute

Dr. Henry leads a drought physiology group and collaborates on rice G proteins and drought tolerance.

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Professor Tim Jegla

Penn State, Dept. of Biology

Professor Jegla studies the evolutionary history and function of ion channel gene families.

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Professor Toshinori Kinoshita

Nagoya University, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules

Professor Kinoshita collaborates with our lab on guard cell red light responses.

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Dr. John LeQuesne

University of Cambridge, Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit

Dr. LeQuesne studies the initiation of translation and the behavior and regulation of the cofactors that participate.

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Professor Scott E. Lindner

Penn State, Dept. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Professor Lindner studies various aspects of transcription and translation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium.

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Professor David Mathews

University of Rochester, Dept. of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Professor Mathews develops algorithms for improved RNA structure prediction to inform structure-function relationships. His lab publishes the critical RNAStructure package that predicts RNA structures.

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Professor Beronda Montgomery

Michigan State University, Depts. Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Professor Montgomery is a member of the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory. Our labs collaborate on guard cell red light responses.

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Dr. Joseph Waldron

Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute

Dr. Waldron is working on applying Structure-Seq to study the behavior of helicases during translation in mammalian cells.


Undergraduate Lab Assistants

Recent Alumni
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Eric Baron

Eric is an undergraduate researcher working on rice G protein signaling with Christian.

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Erik Auker

Undergraduate Researcher

Medical School

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Jose "Jolo" Cadiz

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

Student, Penn State University

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Sarah Cronk

Research Technologist

Staff Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants

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Natalie Hotrum

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

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Logan Baldwin

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

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Madeleine LeFevre

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

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Tim Gilpatrick

Research Technologist

M.S. Student, Penn State Plant Sciences

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Tim Gookin

Postdoctoral Researcher

Wandering Scholar

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Chun Kit Kwok

Ph.D. Student (Chem)

Asst. Professor, City University of Hong Kong

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Lauren Raemore

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

Dental School

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Zhao Su

Postdoctoral Researcher

Postdoc, Professor Ma's Lab at PSU

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David Tack

Postdoctoral Researcher

Spectrum Health Office of Research

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Yin Tang

Ph.D. Student

Postdoc, Yale University

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Mizuki Yamane

Undergraduate Lab Assistant

PA School

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Pradeep Yerramsetty

Postdoctoral Researcher

Scientist, HELIOS NRG, LLC

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Yunqing Yu

Ph.D. Student

Postdoc, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

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Mengmeng Zhu

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Specialist, Weill Cornell Medicine

Name Position Current Status
Biswa Acharya Postdoc Asst Project Scientist, University of California Riverside
Fiona Armstrong Postdoc Deputy Director, UK Research and Innovation Agency
Jerome Bove Postdoc Science Attaché, Bangalore, French Embassy, India
Sylvie Coursol Postdoc Research Scientist, INRA
Yiliang Ding Postdoc Project Leader, John Innes Center
Lei Ding Ph.D. Student Research Scientist, Bayer Crop Science
Liumin Fan Postdoc Associate Professor, Peking University
Kate Fairley-Grenot Postdoc Board Director, AgriFutures Australia
Anne Gibson Research Tech Retired
Laura Haubrick Ph.D. Student Assistant Professor, Shennandoah Univ.
Jaebok Heo Postdoc Assistant Professor, Dong-A University
Tobias Jacob Postdoc Director, Technology and Applications Support, Leica Microsystems
Byeong Wook Jeon Postdoc Research Scientist, NIHHS
Xiaofen Jin Postdoc Vice President, Right Turn Education
Cha Young Kim Postdoc Senior Researcher, KRIBB, Korea
Youngsook Lee Postdoc Professor, POSTECH, Korea
Yu-Ruh Lee Postdoc Research Scientist, UC Davis
Jiaxu Li Ph.D. Student Professor, Mississippi State Univ.
Weiwei Li Ph.D Student Research Scientist, pharma.
Vincent Ling Postdoc Senior Director, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Henk Miedema Postdoc Theme Coordinator, Dehydration, Wetsus, WaterCampus Leeuwarden
Matt Milner Postdoc Senior Scientist, NIAB, U.K.
Carl Ng Postdoc Associate Professor, University College Dublin
Sarah Nilson Ph.D. Student Assistant Professor, Penn State Beaver
Sona Pandey Postdoc Associate Member, Danforth Center
Lisa Romano Postdoc Research Specialist, Molecular Devices
Allison Taylor Postdoc Professor, UNC Wilmington.
Gro Torsethaugen Postdoc Adjunct Professor, Penn State
Daisuke Tsugama Postdoc Research Faculty, Hokkaido University
Laura Ulrich Postdoc Center Manager, Center for Lignocellulose Structure & Formation
Cathy Vandenberg Lab Manager Retired
Xi-Qing Wang Postdoc Professor, China Agricultural University.
Liza Anne Wilson Research Asst. Center for Lignocellulose Structure & Formation
Wei-hua Wu Postdoc Professor and Director, State Key Laboratory, China Agricultural University.
Wei Zhang Postdoc Professor, Shandong Univ.
Zhixin Zhao Ph.D. Student Senior Scientist, Predicine
Laetitia Zurletto Postdoc Associate Professor, University Nice Sophia Antipolis
Pets!
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Luka

Often mistaken for a teddy bear.

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Coconut

House Cat

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Lilo

Complete with Birthday Bandana!

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Glen

Blep

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Ginger

A sweet sassy kitty

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Pella

I love long car rides!

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Buttercup

Queen of the house who appreciates being waited on

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Miss Marvel

A rambunctious explorer who does not believe in forbidden areas or boundaries!

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Doug

New master of my home!

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Rondo

Our international mascot!

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