Faculty and students in the Plant and Microbial Biosciences (PMB) Program use a variety of experimental organisms to address fundamental and applied biological problems.  Contemporary research on plant and microbial systems has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the natural world and drives innovation in biomedicine, agriculture, and energy production.

The PMB Program trains world-class, creative biologists who employ plants and microbes as their primary model systems, but also have extensive familiarity with state-of-the-art techniques and approaches across disciplines.  The success of PMB graduates in obtaining postdoctoral fellowships, professorships at leading academic institutions, and leadership positions in the private sector attests to the inherent strengths of this philosophy.

PMB is fully integrated with other graduate programs in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, one of the top PhD and MD/PhD training environments in the US.  Faculty in PMB maintain close ties with graduate programs in Molecular Microbiology and Pathogenesis, Genetics and Genomics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Cell Biology Students in PMB receive training not only in plant and microbial systems, but also in state-of-the-art approaches to imaging, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, systems biology, geochemistry, molecular evolution, and ecology, from leaders in the field.

Research in PMB covers a diverse array of topics including:

  • Interactions between plants, microbes, and their environment
  • Assembly and regulation of membrane-associated complexes
  • Cytoskeletal organization and regulation
  • Cell morphology and cell division
  • Structural biology and biochemistry
  • Cell and organelle size
  • Metabolic engineering of natural products, biomaterials, and biofuels
  • Microbial ecology and evolution
  • Biogeochemical cycles and earth history

Contact Information

Graduate Student Coordinator:  Stacia Burd

PMB Faculty Directors:  Petra Levin, Ph.D. & Ram Dixit, Ph.D.