Meet the Current Ambassadors

About the Ambassador Program

Past Ambassadors

Ambassador Alliance

The ASPB Ambassador Program is a semi-independent organization within ASPB with oversight by the Membership Committee.  It is  governed by an ad-hoc committee of five comprised of the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Membership Committee (MemCom) Representative, and Outgoing Chair. This group will be called the Ambassador Alliance. Each position will last for one year.

Katy McIntyre
Katy McIntyre
Colorado State University

Asia Hightower
Asia Hightower
Vice Chair
Wayne State University

Amina Yaqoob
University of Punjab

Andrew Foudree
Membership Committee Representative

Sunil Kumar Kenchanamane Raju
Sunil Kumar Kenchanamane Raju
Out Going Chair
Michigan State University

Undergraduate and Graduate Ambassadors

University of Florida

Shakeel Ahmad

I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant breeding and genetics from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (Pakistan). During my master, I worked in the laboratory of Prof. Asif Ali Khan where I checked the resistance status of field collected Helicoverpa armigera against different accessions of Bt cotton cultivated in Pakistan under the supervision of Prof. Asif and Dr. Masooma. To fulfill the research thirst in plant biology, I continued my studies and joined Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing in September, 2017 for doctoral studies. Currently, I’m working on rice blast disease in Prof. Hu Peisong’s Lab with the aim and hope to develop blast resistant rice lines with high grain quality using CRISPR/Cas9 system.

Besides research, in my spare time, I love blogging, utilize social media platforms to interact with fellows to get know-how about the things happening around and hang-out with friends. I’m excited being an ASPB Ambassador and I hope to experience this unique opportunity to spread the good work of APSB. I’m looking forward to meeting with professionals working in the field of plant biology so that the interaction and learning will harness benefits for the society!

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I am currently a PhD candidate in the Plant Biology Graduate Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My research in the lab of Prof. Elsbeth Walker focuses on understanding the mechanisms behind shoot-to-root iron signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana. In the lab, I use a combination of molecular and bioinformatic approaches to investigate these mechanisms. Before UMass, I had worked with Prof. Iris Finkemeier at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne, Germany for my master’s degree. As a young scientist interested in open-access publishing, I had my first advocacy opportunity as an eLife Ambassador in 2018. I was involved in an initiative to increase the visibility and quality of preprints. To support this initiative, we had incorporated preprints into our journal club series at UMass in 2018 and as a result we have published our reviews on PREreview, a preprint review platform.

The inauguration of Plant Direct and its strong promotion of preprints as part of the manuscript submission process have made preprints a part of ASPB’s message. As an ASPB ambassador, I am planning to focus my efforts on increasing awareness for preprints and help ASPB to strengthen its message on a fair and transparent peer review process.

My name is Max Barnhart, I am a 4th year PhD Candidate at the University of Georgia studying the impacts of heat stress on sunflower reproduction. In addition to my research, I am also extremely passionate about science communication and was awarded an ASPB BLOOME Grant in 2020 to print and publish science zines in Athens, GA through the Athens Science Observer, a scicomm organization run by myself and fellow UGA graduate students. In my free time I do TaeKwonDo and Yoga in addition to spending time hanging out with friends and reading.

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I am currently working as Project Assistant in Professor Sandhya S Visweswariah’s laboratory at the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics at Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, India. I finished my Bachelors of Engineering in Biotechnology from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore. I am interested in researching medicinal plants and identifying potential pharmaceutical compounds in my future study.

I am very excited to be a part of ASPB, hoping to meet motivated people in plant biology. I would love to network and learn from all of them about their research and passion for plants.

I am thrilled to use this wonderful opportunity to broaden the visions of ASPB.

Andrew Egesa

Andrew is a PhD student at the University of Florida in the Environmental Horticulture Department. He has a broad interest in plant science research, especially on signaling in plant development and the interaction of developmental and environmental signals on growth and performance. He is also interested in applying plant science knowledge and skills in crop improvement and biopharming.

New email:

Virginia Tech

I am a PhD student studying Plant Biology with a specialization in Predictive Plant Phenomics, at Iowa State University in Dr. Justin Walley’s lab. My work focuses on the role of post translational modifications (primarily acetylation) in plant-pathogen interactions. I grew up in Florida and first became interested in plant science in my undergraduate years at Florida State University where I worked in a maize genetics lab. At Iowa State, I am the president of the Graduate Student Organization of Plant Biologists and a Graduate Student Senate Representative for Plant Pathology and Microbiology. Outside of the lab, I enjoy working out, hanging out with friends and playing board games. As an ambassador, I hope to spread the message and the brand of ASPB.

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I am a recent graduate of the University of California San Diego, currently working outside of plant biology, but applying to plant biology graduate programs for Fall 2022. During my undergrad, I spent 4 wonderful years in the Huffaker lab studying plant innate immunity.

I worked on several projects during this time, including investigation of a transcription factor which was found to modulate plant defense responses in a phosphorylation dependent manner. Another project identified a receptor for the inceptin elicitor of plant defense, which originates from herbivory events in beans. My most recent project was characterizing a novel family of defense signaling peptides in multiple species of the bean family, as well as characterizing the putative receptors in their respective plant systems. I was a 2018 SURF awardee for this project and presented my results at the Plant Biology conference in San Jose in 2019.

I am very excited to be able to spread knowledge of plant sciences as an ASPB ambassador and get to know the other ambassadors as well.

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Asia HightowerHi, my name is Asia Hightower I am currently an MS student at Wayne State University. I am interested in the genetic regulation of morphology in dioecious plant species. I love dogs and critiquing films.

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I am going to be starting a PhD program in Fall 2020 and will be studying plant molecular biology. I am most interested in studying gene regulation and epigenetics. My undergraduate experience in Dr. Judy Brusslan’s lab involved studying the transcriptional regulation of leaf senescence and how different developmental events trigger leaf senescence-related signaling in Arabidopsis. I interned with Dr. Alison DeLong to study the role a particular phosphatase plays in regulating Arabidopsis plant size. I am learning piano and American Sign Language (ASL), and I want to eventually become a certified ASL interpreter.  As an ASPB scholar I wrote an article and developed public friendly infographics about GMO safety, and as an Ambassador I intend to continue expanding my scicomm skills to help increase the visibility of plant biology in society

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I am from Charlotte, North Carolina and received my B.S. in Biology from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee in 2017. While in my undergraduate degree, I became highly interested in plant biology. During that time, I worked as research technician with USDA at North Carolina State University on a project examining elevated ozone response in soybean. I also served as the garden overseer in an environmental science club at my undergraduate institution where I taught club members how to raise vegetables.  These combined experiences sparked my interest in plant physiology and nutrition. I followed these interests into graduate school where I got into the lab of Dr. Marinus Pilon. Additionally, I obtained an internship position with Dr. Sean Gleason at the USDA-ARS in Ft. Collins, CO while in graduate school. In this position, I have worked on a broad array of projects investigating drought tolerance traits in crops.

I am currently in the 5th year of my PhD program researching copper transport in poplar and examining the effects of copper deficiency on poplar ultrastructure. I take a broad and integrative approach to my research influenced by my dual roles at the USDA and CSU. I became a member of ASPB in 2020 and was accepted into the Ambassador program in the spring of 2021. I presented my first national conference poster at Plant Biology 2021 on copper transport in poplar. My career goals include a long-standing interest in agriculture research in government or industry. I look forward to severing as an ASPB Ambassador both now and in the future to help shape the future of plant biology.

University of Arkansas

Katy McIntyreI was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee but moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with two minors in Molecular Biology and Business Administration from Colorado State University in 2016. During my undergraduate studies, I had little to no experience in plant biology until I received an undergraduate research position Dr. Cris Argueso’s lab where I became fully immersed in plant hormonal signaling involved in plant defense. After I graduated, I received a short term post-baccalaureate research position in Todd Gaines lab where I worked on a TILLING by sequencing project in Sorghum bicolor. I chose to return to Dr. Argueso’s lab for graduate school where I am currently finishing the second year of my PhD program in Cell and Molecular Biology in the Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management department where my research pertains to hormonal crosstalk chromatin remodeling involved in plant defense in Arabidopsis thaliana.

During my first year in graduate school, I was delighted to be a part of the American Society of Plant Biologist’s Ambassador program. Within the last year, I have participated in a few volunteer outreach activities as an ASPB Ambassador in northern Colorado. One of these activities included participating in a STEM night at Shepardson Elementary School in Fort Collins. During this event, I teamed up with four other plant biologists to set up different booths highlighting different areas within plant biology including: plant diseases, where our food comes from, and how photosynthesis works. I also volunteered at Colorado State University’s Agriculture Day I discussed plant pathogens with middle schoolers visiting the campus. During this event, I showed common plant diseases on both fruits and vegetables, and also had an interactive activity displaying the varying ways plant bacteria are able to spread from plant to plant and from farm to farm. This year I also have made an effort to attend and participate in multiple ASPB Skype meetings. This past Spring, I attended the ASPB Membership Committee Meeting where different members of the ASPB community discussed how to increase overall membership, improve the ASPB Ambassador program, hear reports from different regional sections, and plan activities for Plant Biology 2017.

Other than Ambassador activities, I was awarded the Graduate Research Fellowship through the National Science Foundation, Cell and Molecular Biology Program Fellowship, and my university’s departmental Outstanding Pathologist Scholarship. I also have been an elected member of my graduate program’s Student Association for three years where I have served as Secretary, Vice President and now President. I also have served as an elected member of my department’s Student Committee.

I’m looking forward to representing ASPB as an Ambassador in 2018. I plan on attending the annual Plant Biology meeting in Montreal where I will be able to meet fellow ASPB members as well as other Ambassadors. I also want to become a member of the future governing body of Ambassadors. I have recently shifted my career goals to include being highly involved with governmental policy pertaining to agriculture because I believe there is a huge gap in proper communication between plant biologists, the farming community, and the government. As a graduate student in academia, it’s become apparent to me that my academic requirements will not prepare me for a life involved in government. Therefore, becoming involved in an ASPB Ambassador governing committee will be a great opportunity for me to learn and gain experience.

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University of Missouri


Adenike OyekunleI am a master’s student at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. I am currently studying in the center for genomics and biotechnology under the supervision of Dr Yuan Qin. She’s using functional genomics and molecular biology techniques to study the roles of some genes in abiotic stress response in rice and pineapple.

Prior studying at FAFU, I worked for a few years in the agricultural service sector in my home country Nigeria after graduating with a Bachelor degree in general Agriculture. I envisages developing more skills in phenomics and computational biology in the next phase of her study. I also have passion for educational development and food security particularly in developing countries. I joined ASPB in order to learn more about the plant biology community and through communication of the importance of plant biology to young girls in Nigeria and Africa I hope to contribute to the broad vision of ASPB. In February 2019 I was selected as an ASPB ambassador.

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Dartmouth College

Shawna RoweI am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Plant Biology at Michigan State University in the laboratory of Dr. Yair Shachar-Hill. My research interests center around the fantastic world of symbiotic interactions between plants and microbes. Specifically, I focus on developing an improved understanding of nutrient exchange between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). During my graduate career, I have served as Vice President of the Graduate Employees’ Union and worked to help improve working conditions and community for graduate students across campus. I’m excited to work as an ASPB ambassador to help continue building a stronger community of diverse and inclusive plant scientists and spread the good word about all of the wonderful plant science research happening around the world!

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My roots are in the northern state of India, Punjab (Land of Five Rivers). Currently, I am pursuing a doctorate in Plant Breeding & Genetics under the joint advisement of Prof. Paul Staswick and Prof. Harkamal Walia at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My research work focuses on finding the mode of action and underlying molecular mechanisms behind the activity of a newly registered tertiary amine plant growth regulator, BMVE. BMVE is a compound patented by a seed company of Nebraska, ‘Kamterter’. The other major aspect of my research is to understand and decipher the role of phytohormone ‘Auxin’ along with the associated downstream developmental changes during the reproductive phase in Rice under temperature stress. My dissertation work would provide valuable insights into the potential use of BMVE as a plant growth regulator, and underlying adaptive mechanisms related to development in crops grown under heat stress (high day-night, high night, and high day temperatures).

I have started serving as a graduate student ambassador of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) since May 2021. I am working very enthusiastically since day one of my appointment whether it be the promotion of ASPB or dissemination of the scientific information generated from our organization’s platform. Being an ambassador, I also got the chance to serve as Moderator-A and Moderator-B for three concurrent sessions during the Plant Biology meeting, 2021. Currently, looking for more opportunities where I could contribute to the ASPB.


Lucas Vanhaelewyn

Lucas Vanhaelewyn is a Belgian PhD candidate at Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium). His doctoral research is about the effects of UV-B radiation on plants from fundamentals to applications. Lucas is passionate about knowledge sharing and science communication, he has organized several outreach events as an ASPB ambassador, reaching thousands of people (e.g. the Light festival in Belgium and student outreach in Vietnam). In this spirit, Lucas also joined ASPB-ARN, where he will try to actively promote inclusivity and multi-stakeholder engagement by connecting scientists from emerging economies with an internationally recognized strong science network – such as ASPB. Apart from his research interests, he is heavily involved in Pro Bono and entrepreneurial development work in Uganda, Nigeria and Vietnam. Recently he is a voluntary consultant in Team investment of Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, a director of Ssemu Agrotech Consultants Ltd (Uganda) and a co-founder of The Mobile Plant Clinic (Nigeria). Follow his activities on Twitter: @Lucas_Muzungu_

My name is Amina Yaqoob and I am a Research officer at Plant Biotechnology lab, Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB), University of the Punjab, Pakistan. My research focuses are development of transgenic plants with improved traits and their biosafety studies. My PhD research work was based on cotton transformation for improved fiber quality. I am serving as the secretary-Ambassadors Alliance program (2020-2021). I joined the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) in December 2017 and served as an ASPB ambassador (2018-2020). I love to get involved in different extracurricular activities, scientific writing, outreach programs, social media and public communication. I have also been mentoring planting science sessions for the last two years. In the past, I served at American Society of Microbiology (ASM), Gulls association and Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA) as facilitator and mentor.

My role as secretary – ambassador alliance is to strengthen the coordination between the Alliance and ambassadors. I shall be mentoring the ambassadors on different ideas and encouraging them for valuable activities. I believe that a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.

Approach me at:

Twitter: @AminaYaqoob

Postdoc Ambassadors

I am currently a postdoc with Michelle Facette at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and interested in cell polarity, nuclear movement, and asymmetric cell division. I am also working as co-founder and acting chair of PlantPostdocs and serving as Feature Editor for the Molecular Plant.

Find more and connect me through:

Blog | Google Scholar | Twitter | ResearchGate

Anne-Sophie BohrerAnne-Sophie Bohrer is a senior research associate at Michigan State University (MSU) in the Takahashi lab. Her initial work focused on the study of sulfur metabolism in Arabidopsis, with an emphasis on understanding the regulation mechanisms of sulfate uptake and sulfate assimilation in the cytosol and the chloroplasts.

Anne-Sophie is now continuing her postdoc in the Great lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) at MSU and is involved in the project that aims at developing a sustainable production of bioenergy crops by leveraging plant and microbiome traits to promote productivity on marginal lands. Specifically, Anne-Sophie is conducting the metabolite profiling of switchgrass under various stress to identify key factors that promote growth and survival of switchgrass in North America.

Anne-Sophie graduated in 2012 with her PhD in plant biochemistry and molecular biology from the University Paris-Sud (France).

Twitter: @AnsoBohrer

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at Noble Research Institute in Oklahoma. I work with Professor Elison Blancaflor to dissect the transcriptomic changes that occur in root columella cells when they are gravistimulated using RNA-Seq and laser capture microdissection techniques. Prior to my postdoctoral fellowship, I completed my PhD dissertation with Professor Ulrike Mathesius in Australian National University on elucidating how flavonoids protect plants from root-knot nematode infection. I am excited to work as an ASPB ambassador to work on issues pertaining early career researchers provide a community support to other postdocs and graduate students particularly on issues pertaining mental health awareness and job sustainability. Additionally, I hope to encourage scientific participation in local schools by anchoring on ASPB’s education and outreach programs.

My Plantae profile is as following:

I am a new postdoctoral research associate at Oak Ridge National Lab in the Plant Systems Biology group. My work is focused on characterizing the plant developmental, metabolic, and signaling pathways underlying the mediation of beneficial plant-microbe interactions in Populus.

Prior to this, I earned a B.Sci. in Plant Science and Biology from Utah State University and then completed a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. While conducting doctoral research on the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of symbiotic associations between poplar trees and mycorrhizal fungi, I received a 3-year NSF graduate research fellowship. After graduating, I continued my research on beneficial plant-microbe interactions as a postdoctoral research associate at South Dakota State University. For three years, I studied legume tripartite interactions with both arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and the nitrogen fixing bacteria rhizobia.

Check out my publications on Google Scholar:

Beyond research, I enjoy gardening, mountain biking, and chess. I also love engaging in scientific outreach. Most notably, I developed and deployed a plant science merit badge workshop at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with the help of 15 graduate student volunteers that I recruited and trained each year. Together, over four years, we helped nearly 200 scouts not only earn the plant science merit badge but develop a genuine interest in the plant sciences. My goal is to help establish similar workshops elsewhere to help plant scientists engage meaningfully with youth and motivate them to pursue a career in plant science.

Please reach out to me if you are interested!

Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@KevinCope18) or on LinkedIn (

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Donald Danforth Plant Science in St. Louis, Missouri in Dr. Blake’s Meyers’ Lab. My research is focused on studying the transcriptional activities occurring in plant-microbes interactions at a single-cellular level. By pinpointing where in the plant specific genes are active, I hope I’m able to determine how plant cells and microbes communicate and discover novel ways to improve crop yields.

For my educational background, I went to University of Missouri-St. Louis to major in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. After graduating in 2013, I enrolled into graduate school at Texas A&M University to study the molecular mechanisms of a disease on cotton called Bacterial Blight of Cotton in Dr. Libo Shan’s lab. In 2018, I received my PhD in Plant Pathology and started my post-doc at the Danforth Center in January 2019 where I still reside today as a HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow. Outside the lab, I also participate in various outreach activities such as speaking and giving science lessons at primary schools in the St. Louis region.

As an ASPB ambassador, I’m excited to work with ASPB and the other ambassadors on communicating science to other scientists and the general public. One of the ways I intend to do this is making short videos on my YouTube Channel that discusses a variety of science topics in a manner that’s understandable to the general public. Additionally, I am eager to help recruit other early career scientists to become members in the ASPB society. The great community of ASPB has provided opportunities for me to network and grow as a scientist and I would like all scientists to also receive that as well.

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Sunil Kumar Kenchanmane Raju I am a postdoc at the Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University. In the Niederhuth lab, I study epigenome variation across plant species through an evolutionary perspective using comparative and population epigenomics. I come from the Sahyadri region (the benevolent mountains) in Karnataka, India. I worked on developing molecular markers for orphan legumes and identifying disease resistance QTLs in maize before joining Sally Mackenzie lab at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) for a Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding. My dissertation work provides valuable insights into the potential use of induced epigenetic variation in breeding for yield and stability related traits. I did a short postdoc in the James Schnable lab at UNL, where I expanded my research interests and worked on comparative gene expression analysis across multiple panicoid grasses and their response to low-temperature stress.

I have been an active member of American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) since 2012 and currently am a postdoc ambassador. I have published an ASPB-Luminaries article on Dr. Marja Timmerman in the 2017 Jan/Feb issue of ASPB-News ( As ASPB ambassador, I have been volunteering in ASPB Midwest meetings in 2017 and 2018, promoting  membership and explaining the need and benefit of supporting scientific societies. I also helped in the organization of ‘Fascination for Plants’ day on May 18, 2017, in which more than 100 invited high school students participated in fun plant science activities organized by faculty from Plant Science Innovation and Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, UNL.

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Google Scholar:


Alexander MeyersI am a Ph.D. in Ohio University’s Department of Environmental and Plant Biology in the lab of Dr. Sarah Wyatt. I was born and raised in Upstate New York and completed a BS in Biochemistry at SUNY Cortland in 2013. My research focuses on using big data to better understand the molecular mechanisms that allow plants to sense and respond to gravity. Much of my research utilizes transcriptomic data gathered from plants flown in zero-gravity aboard the International Space Station. I plan to continue this career trajectory using spaceflight as a platform for scientific investigation and public outreach. I am passionate about public science literacy, and in my free time, I enjoy hiking, gardening, and traveling.

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Katherine Murphy

Katherine Murphy is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a PhD in Plant Biology from UC Davis, where she studied terpene biosynthesis in maize with Dr. Philipp Zerbe, and an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Stanford University where she studied maize anther development with Dr. Virginia Walbot. Her current research focuses on oil biosynthesis and heat stress in tobacco.

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Maria-Angelica Sanclemente is a postdoctoral researcher in the biology department at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. She holds an MS degree in Horticultural Sciences from the University of Florida and a PhD in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology from the same institution. At UF, Angelica studied physiological and genetic implications of sugar and oxygen availability on development of crop plants. Her current research focuses on identifying molecular basis of plant recovery after submergence. Angelica is Colombian-American and has great interest in science communication, outreach, and mentoring. She has been an ambassador for the American Society of Plant Biology (ASPB) since 2018, and volunteers as a lecturer and science judge for the Alachua County school system in Florida since 2013.

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Mariana SchusterMariana Schuster is a Postdoc at the Department of Plant Sciences of the University of Oxford. She was born in Colombia, in a family of German descent, and finished studies in Biology both in Colombia and Germany. Mariana received a PhD in plant-pathogen interactions from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology and the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany. Mariana studies the plant immune system and currently investigates the role of cysteine proteases in immunity.

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Jithesh Vijayan

I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Dept. of Biochemistry at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I work with Dr. Rebecca Roston. I am a plant and algal physiologist with an interest in signaling, stress and nutrient availability. Currently I am working towards understanding the mechanism of action of an archaeal antioxidant that is able to increase the biomass yield/ productivity in a variety of plants species such as Arabidopsis, soy bean, tobacco and basil. For my doctoral dissertation, I studied the role of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Target of Rapamycin (TOR) in microalgal metabolism under nitrogen starvation.

I have been a member of ASPB since 2015 and an ambassador since 2018. I am interested in outreach activities and SciCom, and participate in a variety of events targeted to non-science audience. I am currently serving as an ECR rep on the program committee (2021/22). In this role I hope to augment the program of the PlantBio2022 to better serve the ECR community.


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Professional/Industry Ambassadors

Andrew FoudreeMy background in Plant Science started at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. I have lived in Iowa for several years and enjoy biking, hunting, and spending time outdoors. I currently work at Corteva Agriscience within the Trait Discovery group. As part of a team, I work to develop, evaluate, and advance new trait leads into our pipeline. A specific part of my role involves evaluation and tracking of new transgenic and edited mutation events. By joining the ASPB Ambassadors program, I hope to be part of their mission to promote ASPB through networking and development of leadership in science.

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My journey in the field of plant genetics started in India, where I did my Master’s in the field of plant breeding and genetics. I did my PhD at Washington State University, where I worked on understanding the evolution of chromosome pairing control in wheat. I have recently joined as a research scientist, where I am working to develop a targeted method of alien gene transfer. By joining ASPB’s ambassador’s program, I hope to play my role in ASPB’s mission. I hope to further develop my professional network and improve my leadership skills. I strongly feel that communication and training play a critical role in improvement in any field of science, so I will do my best to promote ASPB’s long-term goals and engage next generation of plant scientists.

Contact Information:

Diwaker TripathI am working as a research associate at the University of Washington, Seattle. My research is focused on studying DNA damage in organelle DNAs of Maize plants. I am also interested in understanding the structure and function of DNA during different development stages of maize plants.

I did my master’s in biochemistry from the East Tennessee State University, TN, where I discovered the molecular functioning of chemical inducers of plant defense. I completed my Ph.D. in molecular plant sciences from Washington State University (WSU, Pullman) in 2014. During my PhD, I investigated the protein-protein interactions between economically important tospoviruses. After my PhD, I joined the department of Plant Pathology, WSU as a postdoctoral researcher. My postdoc research involved an understanding of plant defense mechanism induced by extracellular ATP. I showed that extracellular ATP interacts with plant hormones to enhance defense against pathogens.

I have been an ASPB ambassador since 2017. As an ambassador of the largest plant community, I get the opportunity to communicate and connect with other scientists. Some of my duties are to educate people about the ASPB and to encourage them to join the ASPB membership and participate in ASPB meetings. As social media plays an important role in promotion, outreach and networking activities, I frequently share the ASPB related posts/blogs on Twitter and Facebook. In 2017, I had an opportunity to interview Dr. Keiko Torri (University of Washington, Seattle) for a luminary article. Later, this article was published in the ASPB newsletter. In 2018, I represented the ASPB at the western section meeting.

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