Maria Sorkin: Plant Physiology First Author

Maria Sorkin, first author of “COLD REGULATED GENE 27 and 28 Antagonize the Transcriptional Activity of the RVE8/LNK1/LNK2 Circadian Complex”

Current Position: Organism Engineer at Ginkgo Bioworks

Education: BA-Kenyon College, PhD-Washington University in St. Louis

Non-scientific Interests: Running, watercolor painting, exploring Boston on foot and through food


Brief bio:

Maria is a Pittsburgh native whose love for science led her first to Kenyon College in Ohio to study biology and then to St. Louis, Missouri to continue her education at Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned her PhD in Plant and Microbial Biosciences in June 2022. Maria’s undergraduate and graduate work explored the daily and seasonal regulation of plant physiology, which is controlled by the circadian clock. After exploring the options for careers in both academia and biotech industry, Maria decided to make the jump to the growing field of synthetic biology and joined Ginkgo Bioworks as an Organism Engineer in September 2022. At Ginkgo, Maria works on projects related to plant and fungal natural product engineering and thoroughly enjoys the free snacks.

Maria is delighted to find that post-graduate school life offers her more time to spend on her hobbies, which have grown to include watercolor painting and exploring her new home city of Boston. Having never lived in a big city before, Maria wasn’t sure she would like the bustle of Boston but has found to her surprise that one of her favorite things about the city is using the public transport system despite the crowds, grime, and the one time someone hit her in the head with their purse. Maria lives in Cambridge with her 6-year-old black cat, Freddie Mercury.

Maria is grateful to have had her research funded by the ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) from North Carolina State University, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRF), and the William H. Danforth Plant Science Fellowship from the Danforth Plant Science Center. Maria would especially like to thank her many mentors over the years including Drs. Karen Hicks, Chris Bickford, Colleen Doherty, and Dmitri Nusi