Plant Sciences at Purdue Agriculture 

Plant Sciences Overview

Dramatic advances in plant-based agriculture will be absolutely essential if the world is to feed the 9 billion people projected to inhabit our planet by 2050. Our world will need plants that deliver higher yield, are more nutritious, use water and nutrients more efficiently, and can tolerate more variation in the environment. Cutting edge advances in plant biology, genomics and epigenetics will permit plant scientists to develop new and novel ways to deliver needed traits.
Our mission is to propel the Purdue plant sciences program to a global leadership position by building a unique plant science research and education pipeline consisting of four core components outlined below.


Research and Education Pipeline

​Center for Molecular Agriculture

Investments in fundamental research will allow us to develop the technology to customize plants to meet emerging needs both locally and across the globe. Relevant technologies are quickly developing and we are well placed to be the academic world leader in adapting this technology to plant sciences. 

Plant Transformation Facility

Development of a transformation lab will bridge the gap between identification of valuable genes and their commercialization. In this facility, genes of potential value identified in crop and non-crop model systems will be inserted in native or modified form into agronomic and horticultural crops to validate their impact on traits of value. In today’s risk averse investment environment, this critical step will greatly facilitate subsequent commercial investment.

Automated Field Phenotyping Laboratory

Our superior research farms give us the opportunity to be the world leader in the new area of automated field phenotyping. Investment in this new technology will provide billions of field measurements for detailed assessment of important traits such as canopy development, leaf area index, height, photosynthetic ability, etc., that are important for both research and commercialization.

Plant Commercialization Incubator Facility

In order to utilize intellectual property developed at Purdue, field trials/testing are critical for licensing and commercialization in the plant sciences. This facility will enhance the value of IP and will make Purdue the “go-to” place for industry partners looking for new innovations and investment opportunities. ​

Unique Opportunity for Students

The plant science research and education pipeline will allow students to build technological and analytical skills, as well as entrepreneurship, leadership and teamwork skills.  Investment in teaching laboratories that are equipped for "omics" and synthetic biology will enable students to gain experience with cutting edge molecular tools and will build on Purdue leadership in iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines). 

Plant Sciences Lecture S​eries

Sigma Xi Lecture/Plant Science Lecture

Presented by Dr. Natalia Doudareva
November 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM EST
Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Towards a mechanistic understanding of C4 photosynthesis: from evolutionary analyses to synthetic biology

Presented by Andreas P.M. Weber
Institute of Plant Biochemistry
April 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM EST
Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Using High-Throughput Ionomics and Phenotyping to Study Gene by Environment Interactions

Presented by Ivan Baxter
USDA Research Scientist
April 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM EST
Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Opportunities for Greenhouse Plant Imaging

Presented by Rob Eddy
Plant Growth Facilities Ma​nager
March 13, 2014 at 1:30 PM EST
Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

​Targeted Gene Editing Technologies

Presented by Jian-Kang Zhu
Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology  February 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM EST
Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

​Research News

Purdue study to measure gravity's effects on plant cells in space

A Purdue experiment that will test how plant cells sense and respond to different levels of gravity is scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Monday (April 14). The study will help determine the conditions necessary to grow plants in space. Read More​

Discovery could yield more efficient plants for biofuels

Clint Chapple and fellow researchers discovered that modifying the Mediator protein complex in plants could lead to improved crops for the production of cellulosic biofuels. Read More​

'Master regulator' protein controls flowering, disease resistance in plants

Tesfaye Mengiste and fellow researchers found that the protein MED18 controls many important plant processes, including when a plant blossoms, how it resists key fungal diseases, and how it responds to environmental stress factors. Read More​

Plants use 'unusual' microbial-like pathway to make essential amino acid

Natalia Dudareva and fellow researchers have discovered a microbial-like pathway in plants that produces phenylalanine, an amino acid that is a vital component of proteins in all living organisms. Read More