Kenneth Acosta: The Plant Cell First Author

Kenneth Acosta, first author of “Return of the Lemnaceae: Duckweed as a model plant system in the genomics and post-genomics era”

Current Position:

PhD student, Department of Plant Biology, Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ


A.A. in Biology, Union County College – Cranford, NJ

B.S. in Biochemistry, Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ

Non-scientific Interests:

Do-it-yourself, programming, exercise

Brief bio:

During my undergraduate education, I performed research in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Lam and was introduced to duckweed, a family of floating aquatic plants. After graduation, I was hired as a research technician and held several different managerial positions. I found research exciting so I am currently completing my PhD degree.

My research focuses on understanding the bacterial colonization of plants and how certain bacteria remain established in plant microbial communities. Several studies, using both culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches, suggest the establishment of plant-associated bacterial communities is not random, instead it is governed by certain structuring principles. To elucidate the underlying factors, I am using duckweed whose morphological and reproductive features simplify plant microbiome studies. Our lab and a few others have already characterized the composition of the duckweed microbiome and are currently applying reductionist approaches to understand its assembly.