Faculty by Research Area

Molecular Ecology

Back to Faculty by Research Area

Photo Allan,  Brian

339A Morrill Hall

Associate Professor
Entomology, PEEC

Photo Bell,  Alison

439 Morrill Hall

Associate Professor; Affiliate, Institute for Genomic Biology; Member, Neuroscience Program
Animal Biology, PEEC

Maybe Berenbaum,  May

216A Morrill Hall / 318B Morrill Hall
217-333-2910 / 217-333-7784

Professor & Head, Swanlund Chair
Entomology, PEEC

C cheng Cheng,  C.-H. Christina

17E Burrill Hall

Animal Biology, PEEC

No photo Epifanio,  John



Kheath Heath,  Katy

249 Morrill Hall

Associate Professor
School of Integrative Biology, Plant Biology, PEEC

My research focuses on the evolution of mutualisms, which are most generally defined as species interactions that increase the fitness of both (or all) partners. Mutualisms are ubiquitous! And they include some of the most important species interactions in nature (for example: mitochondria, mycorrhizae, gut endosymbionts). Though, at first impression, these friendly interactions might appear tightly coevolved, instead they may be characterized by temporal and spatial heterogeneity, cheating, even evolutionary instability. I try to take a multidisciplinary approach and use diverse methods that traditionally are associated with the fields of quantitative genetics (multivariate statistics, greenhouse experiments), population and molecular genetics (genotyping, sequence analysis, expression assays), and ecology (field manipulations, collections) to understand multiple aspects of the evolution of mutualisms. Some questions currently motivating my work include: 1. Under what conditions (including the abiotic and biotic environment) do mutualisms evolve, remain stable, or break down?&nbsp; 2. How phenotypically and genetically variable are mutualistic interactions, and why is such variation maintained, despite selective pressure to cheat or, alternatively, to remain honest? 3. Which genes are variable in nature, and which are, or have been, important players in coevolution? Most generally, I am interested in plants, microbes, and their sundry interactions. Most of my research focuses on the interactions between legumes and their symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria, called rhizobia. This includes the <em>Medicago-Sinorhizobium</em> mutualism because it is a great genetic model with an interesting ecology. I also have interests/projects in: the agronomically-important soybean-<em>Bradyrhizobium</em> interaction, invasive/naturalized clover-rhizobium interactions, invasive/naturalized <em>Medicago lupulina</em>-<em>Sinorhizobium </em>interactions, and the native prairie legume <em>Chamaecrista fasciculata</em> and associated rhizobia.
Kpjohnso Johnson,  Kevin

284 Natural Resources Building, 607 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign, IL 61820

Affiliate, Principal Ornithologist
Animal Biology, Entomology, INHS, PEEC

Photo Leakey,  Andrew

1402 IGB

Associate Professor
Plant Biology, PEEC

My research program is focused on improving mechanistic understanding of: <ol> <li>Plant responses in natural and agricultural ecosystems to global environmental change</li> <li>Adaptation of food and fuel crops to global environmental change</li> <li>Sustainability of biofuel feedstocks</li> </ol> This will enhance understanding of how the environment impacts ecosystem goods and services including biodiversity, productivity, water cycling and food supply. To do this we combine molecular, biochemical, physiological and ecological tools to assess plant performance in manipulative field experiments and controlled environment chambers. On-going projects: <ol> <li>A systems-level analysis of drought and density response in the model C4 grass Setaria viridis</li> <li>EBI 2011: Sustainability of woody biofuel feedstocks</li> <li>Plants iView – an after school program in plant biology</li> <li>Altered Root-To-Shoot Signaling And Osmotic Adjustment As Key Determinants Of Soybean Stress Tolerance Under Drought And Elevated [CO2]</li> <li>Agroecosystems: Effects of changes in climate, carbon dioxide and ozone over the Central United States</li> <li>How will productivity, evapotranspiration & insect herbivory of the Midwest agroecosystem respond to the combined drought and elevated [CO2] anticipated for 2050?</li> </ol>
Slong Long,  Stephen

379 ERML/134 IGB

Gutgsell Endowed Professor
Crop Sciences, Plant Biology, PEEC

Research topics: <ul> <li>Environmental physiology including cold tolerance</li> <li>Global atmospheric change impacts on crops and natural vegetation</li> <li>C4 photosynthesis</li> <li>Biomass energy crops including Miscanthus and switchgrass</li> <li>Mathematical models of photosynthesis </li> </ul> The overall objectives of my research program are as follows. 1) To understand mechanisms of plant responses to both rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and tropospheric ozone, with particular reference to photosynthesis and relating changes at the molecular and biochemical level to observations of whole systems in the field. </p> 2) Establish the potential of mitigation of atmospheric change through the development of herbaceous energy crops. 3) Advance the development of accessible mechanistic mathematical models relating environmental effects on photosynthesis to plant productivity (see: <a href="http://www.life.uiuc.edu/plantbio/wimovac/">http://www.life.uiuc.edu/plantbio/wimovac/</a>). 4) To understand the limitations to C4 photosynthesis and the adaptation of the process to cooler climates. My lab integrates molecular and biochemical studies with physiological studies of photosynthesis, using state-of-the-art and custom built gas-exchange, fluorescence and controlled environment instrumentation. Much of the work involves developing and testing hypotheses on plant environmental responses under controlled conditions and then testing these in large-scale multi-partner field facilities. The International journals <a href="http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/GCB/">Global Change Biology</a> (Blackwell Science) and <a href="http://www.gcbbioenergy.com/">GCB Bioenergy</a> are edited from my laboratory. We have active research links with several global change laboratories within and outside the US, including Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and the U.K. A number of our laboratories graduate students have undertaken a part of their research at the overseas sites.
Malhi Malhi,  Ripan

209F Davenport Hall

Animal Biology, PEEC

Photo Paige,  Ken

483 Morrill Hall

Animal Biology, PEEC

Philipp Philipp,  David

237 NRSA

Research Affiliate
Animal Biology, PEEC

Caphilli Phillips,  Christopher

185 NRB

Adjunct Assistant Professor/Affiliate
Animal Biology, PEEC

Hughrobe Robertson,  Hugh

417 Morrill Hall

Entomology, PEEC

Generobi Robinson,  Gene

1608 IGB / 449 Morrill Hall

Swanlund Chair and Director, Institute for Genomic Biology;
Entomology, PEEC

Suarez2 Suarez,  Andrew

515 Morrill Hall

I. C. Gunsalus Scholar, Professor and Head of Animal Biology
Animal Biology, Entomology, PEEC

Rwhitakr Whitaker,  Rachel

C222 Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory

Associate Professor
Molecular and Cellular Biology, PEEC