Welcome to the Lowry Lab!

The research of the Lowry lab is centered on identifying the genetic and genomic mechanisms of ecological adaptations, understanding how those adaptations contribute to the formation of new species, and developing approaches to translate our knowledge of adaptations into the improvement of crop species. To understand the physiological, developmental, and genetic mechanisms of adaptive divergence between plant populations, the Lowry lab is focused on research in three flagship systems for evolutionary genomics: Monkeyflowers (Mimulus), Common Bean (Phaseolus), and Panicum grasses. Large communities of collaborative scientists have established extensive genomic and molecular biology resources for these systems.

Lab News

August 2020: Our lab has received an official notification that our research on switchgrass latitudinal adaptations will be funded for another five-years!!!! The funding is part of a $12.8 million dollar DOE Systems Biology Research to Advance Sustainable Bioenergy Crop Development Grant led by the University of Texas.

July 2020: Dr. Leslie Kollar has received an NSF postdoctoral fellowship to conduct research on the yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus, at MSU in the Lowry and Niederhuth labs.

July 2020: Postdoc Ali Soltani has been offered and accepted a Genomic Data Scientist job at Bayer Crop Science. Congratulations Ali!

June 2020: Postdoc Acer VanWallendael’s recent New Phytologist paper was highlighted by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center: Geographic adaptations impact switchgrass resistance to rust infections

March 2020: Our technician Darlene Brennan will be starting a PhD position at the University of Nebraska this coming fall. Big congratulations Darla!

March 2020: Matthew Carey will be joining the Lowry Lab in the Fall Semester of 2020 as an incoming PhD student. Welcome Matt! We are thrilled you will be joining us!

January 2020: Damian Popovic’s field study on understanding the ecological mechanisms of local adaptation between coastal and inland habitats of Mimulus guttatus has been published in a special issue of The American Journal of Botany.

Popovic D, Lowry DB. 2020. Contrasting environmental factors drive local adaptation at opposite ends of an environmental gradient in the yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus). American Journal of Botany. 107: 298-307.

January 2020: Dr. Kyle Christie came to visit the lab and presented his excellent research on the evolution of reproductive isolation in California Jewelflowers in the Plant Biology Departmental Seminar.

July 2019: Dr. Ian Willick has arrived in the lab! Ian will be working on the physiological and biochemical mechanisms of cold tolerance in switchgrass.

June 2019: After nearly a decade of hard work by numerous people, working together across a huge swath of the central United States, our large-scale study of the genetic architecture of local adaptation in switchgrass has finally been published this month in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

Lowry DB, Lovell JT, Zhang L, Bonnette J, Fay PA, Mitchell RB, Lloyd Reilley J, Boe AR, Wu Y, Rouquette FM, Wynia RL, Weng X, Behrman KD, Healy A, Barry K, Lipzen A, Bauer D, Sharma A, Jenkins J, Schumtz J, Fritschi FB, Juenger TE. 2019. QTL x environment interactions underlie adaptive divergence in switchgrass across a large latitudinal gradient. PNAS.

June 2019: The Lowry Lab has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying locally adaptive trade-offs between growth, reproduction, and herbivore resistance in the yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus. The research will be conducted in collaboration with Liza Holeski’s lab at Northern Arizona University. The first paper on this research was published in the journal Evolution:

Lowry DB, Popovic D, Brennan DJ, Holeski LM. 2019. Mechanisms of a locally adaptive shift in allocation among growth, reproduction, and herbivore resistance in Mimulus guttatus. Evolution. 73: 1168-1181.

May 2019: Dr. Kyle Christie has been awarded an NSF postdoc fellowship to join the Lowry Lab and study the impacts of climate change on local adaptation through resurrection experiments conducted from herbarium collections of Plantago patagonica.

March 2019: Postdoc Acer VanWallendael visited Capital Hill to talk with US Senator Gary Peter (MI) about funding for science as part of an American Institute of Biological Sciences program, with support from the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE).


February 2019: The lab published a paper in Annual Reviews of Plant Biology on using our knowledge of molecular pathways to predict trade-offs underlying local adaptation.

VanWallendael A, Soltani A, Emery NC, Peixoto MM, Olsen J, Lowry DB. 2019. A molecular view of plant local adaptation: Incorporating stress-response networks. Annual Reviews of Plant Biology. In press

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