The Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology (PMCB) Graduate Program is one of the most comprehensive graduate programs in Plant Sciences. Our success is a result of our interdisciplinary emphasis, award-winning faculty, uniquely collaborative environment, innovation focus and state-of-the-art facilities. Our faculty is deeply committed to help students develop as scientists and compete successfully for the best positions available in plant research. We have a close-knit and diverse group of students who form a vibrant and supportive community. Our students gain an extensive plant sciences knowledge not only by taking specialized courses, developing outstanding bench skills, and sharpening scientific writing skills but also by presenting their research in scientific meetings, publishing manuscripts and creating their own opportunities.
FIRST YEAR ROTATIONS
First year students have the opportunity to rotate through different faculty laboratories and select a major professor by the end of the second semester. Applicants do not need to define a research project before applying.
FULL FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Our Ph.D. students are fully financially supported for the duration of their program, which includes a competitive stipend, medical insurance and a full tuition waiver.
NO TEACHING REQUIREMENT
Our students are not required to teach to receive a stipend so they can focus on research, professional development, and specialized course work. Teaching is available when it fits our students’ goals.
TOP RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Our students enjoy the best opportunities for immediate translation of their research results to the field. The research conducted in PMCB has resulted in many new plant cultivars and inventions.
EXCELLENT JOB PLACEMENT
Our graduates have achieved excellent positions in the academic, industry, government, and non-profit sectors. Our 2011-2016 job placement has been 100%.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LOCATION
Gainesville’s subtropical climate, year-round outdoor recreational activities, varied cultural resources, attractive educational opportunities and low cost of living make it an exciting place to live and learn.
News & Highlights from our faculty, students, and alumni.
Angélica (right) was invited to present a talk at the 12th International Society of Plant Anaerobiosis Annual Meeting organized by The University of Copenhagen, in Elsinore, Denmark. Angélica studies the role of NDPK1 between sugar and oxygen and their effects on maize metabolism and sensing. Her abstract can be seen here. Angélica is in Karen Koch’s lab and will be graduating soon.
Scott Latimer, Peng Liu and Tim Johnson
Scott (middle), in Gilles Basset’s lab, was awarded a $1,000 first-place award for best presentation during our 2017 PMCB Annual Workshop. Peng (left), in Karen Koch’s lab, and Tim (right), in Thomas Colquhoun’s lab, received each the $500 runners up award. These awards are designed to help our students cover travel expenses to conferences and other scietific and professional development events. The competition is open to all students participating in the workshop, regardless of affiliation.
Nicole Beisel, a first year PMCB student, has been recently featured on UF's main page in the story Meet the scientist who wants to use GoPro cameras to grow food on Mars. Beisel's research involves making sense of immense, complex sets of genetics data for the UF's Space Plants Lab, a team focused on growing plants in zero gravity. But it's Beisel's side project that she calls "simply cool" and will one day help the first greenhouses thrive on Mars. Not many plant biologists can say their research has the potential to help gardeners on Earth as well as on Mars, and that's why Beisel chose PMCB at UF.
Tim focuses on the biosynthesis and regulation of volatile compounds (fragrances) and other metabolites in fruit, flower and grains. In 2016, Tim published a Phytochemistry paper trying to elucidate why some Lilium flowers produce fragrances often too overpowering for consumers. His work on the genetic basis for biosynthesis has led to collaborations with PMCB faculty including Patrício Muñoz, Karen Koch, and a recent BCM Plant Biology publication with Kevin Folta.
Dr. Folta excels on communicating science to non-scientific audiences, which is reflected by his numerous science communication awards: 2016 Borlaug CAST Communication and 2017 ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service. His blog Illumination and weekly podcast Talking Biotech discuss the interface between society and science and genetic improvement in agriculture. His lab uses novel genomics approaches to identify genes related to flavor and disease resistance.
Dr. Koch received the 2016 Charles Reid Barnes Award, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) first honor. According to the ASPB award committee “Karen has excelled in research, in the training of students of plant biology, and in service to the Society. Her research on carbohydrate metabolism and sugar signaling is known internationally and her training of plant biology students is legendary.”
Svetlana Folimonova was named a University of Florida Research Foundation Professor for 2017-2020 among other 34 faculty members in various UF colleges. This award recognizes faculty with a distinguished record of research and a strong research agenda likely to lead to continuing distinction in their fields. UF believes that by investing in these outstanding faculty the University generates significant return in research discoveries, scholarship and technology transfer.
Anna-Lisa Paul & Rob Ferl
Anna-Lisa Paul and Rob Ferl have been leading the EPEX- Epigenetic Expression projec, a long-term collaborative experiment by UF’s Space Plants Lab http://ufspaceplants.org and NASA. EPEX is designed to test how plants respond to zero gravity and spaceflight environment. Their team is looking deep into how the expression of plant genes responds to life in space and how plant genetic materials help them adapt to this new environment.
Camila, a 2017 alumna, is now a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Dr. Nian Wang’s lab, UF Citrus Research and Education Center, whose team was awarded $1 million to develop varieties of citrus resistant to citrus greening (Huanglongbing, HLB). Their team was the first to adopt CRISPR technology to modify CsLOB1, the canker susceptibility gene, and then successfully developed canker-resistant citrus. Their goal now is to use the same technology to generate HLB resistant citrus varieties free of foreign DNA that could be immediately commercialized.
Patrício, a 2012 graduate, now leads the UF Blueberry Breeding & Genomics Lab as an assistant professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department. His lab develops improved blueberry cultivars and generates relevant genetic and genomic information, methods and strategies that can contribute to industry and breeding programs. From 2013 to 2016 Patrício held the position of Forage Breeding and Genomics Assistant Professor with the UF Agronomy Department.
Elton Gonҫalves, a 2015 alumnus, is an Associate Research Scientist with the New Mexico Consortium, a non-profit research and educational organization between the University of New Mexico and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Elton explores molecular strategies for algal crop protection so these biofuels can show a consistent biomass productivity and be economically feasible. Elton and Dr. Bala Rathinasabapathi found that oil accumulation in algae occurs within three hours of nitrogen being removed, as published in the Planta journal.
Cíntia, a 2014 alumna, holds a renowned Emerging Leader in Science position with Monsanto. Cíntia has shaped her research and work with Matias Kirst in the UF Forest Genomics lab to achieve this much wanted career goal. In 2014 Cíntia was awarded the prestigious Best Doctoral Dissertation by UF/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences).