Grateful to be a Scientist

I can use my platform as an academic scientist to chase my passions of improving crops, feeding more people, and doing it with less environmental impact.

I’ve been working in academic science since 1987 when I started washing laboratory glassware at Northern Illinois University.  Today I’m honored to serve as a public university Professor at the University of Florida, along with some of the world’s most productive faculty — studying everything from space biology, to biochemistry, to organic crop production.

My laboratory examines how light can be used to control how plants grow, with a focus on improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables in urban environments. We assist the University of Florida strawberry breeder by generating molecular markers that speed strawberry improvement for improved flavors, aromas, and disease resistance. We also are developing novel plant protection chemistries, as well as potentially next-generation antibiotics to fight resistant bacteria. These projects provide fertile ground for training students, postdocs and visiting scientists.

My background in communications has been helpful in translating science to the public. From third-grade classrooms, to retirement homes, to farmers and physicians, I’m glad to provide scientific discussions of topics in food and farming. I’m a regular guest on podcasts and in other media, and am grateful for these opportunities to answer questions for a curious, and sometimes concerned, public.