I am queer and pansexual and I am a professor of biology at University of Washington.//
At least one in seven people on this planet right now is malnourished. This incalculable loss to human potential will grow only more dire with the impending failures of the agricultural system in the face of climate change, especially among the world’s most vulnerable populations. Solutions will require contributions from multiple disciplines, and bioengineering should be among them. My vision is to work in collaboration with small-hold growers to build a new generation of smart crops that are more resilient and resource-efficient. Such technologies will require understanding and implementing information processing in plants (what I call plant logic)—inspired by and working in harmony with existing networks, most of which involve the phytohormone auxin. My lab tackles this challenge through a combination of plant development and synthetic biology approaches. I am also working hard to continuously build and support the diverse teams needed to do this transdisciplinary work equitably and effectively. Figuring out plant logic and how to be the best possible mentor are my twin passions, and they are often intertwined.