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Plant Biology at Cornell University has a long and distinguished history characterized by faculty and graduates who have made major contributions to science, higher education, and public policy over the past 150 years.

Professor Karl Niklas teaching BIOPL 2410: Introductory Plant Biodiversity and Evolution.

Today, the section has 26 faculty members, and including emeritus professors, there are three members of the National Academy of Sciences.   These faculty have a great diversity of interests, which attracts high caliber undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Together, they work to solve today’s toughest challenges, like global climate change, food shortages, biodiversity loss, and new and evolving diseases. Through its broad-based and innovative studies of basic plant biology, the Section of Plant Biology is positioned to contribute solutions to these problems at local, state, national, and global scales.

Research Areas

The Section of Plant Biology at Cornell is home to basic plant biology research on campus. Established within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, it is also home to faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences, reflecting its bi-collegiate history. Consistent with the diverse historical foundations of the section and its leading role in establishing the state-of-the-art in plant biology, the section encompasses several research areas, including cell and organelle biology; development and cell signaling; genetics and epigenetics; physiology and metabolism; plant-environment interaction; system biology and modeling; and systematics, evolution, and diversity.