Recognizing Plant Physiology author Lina Castano-Duque

Lina Castano-Duque first author of An Epigenetic Pathway connects Rice Genetic Variation to Anaerobic Germination and Seedling Establishment

Current Position:

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Biology at USDA-ARS Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans


I started my undergraduate education in the Biology program at Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. After immigrating to the United States, I transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program, where I earned my B.A. in 2010. I completed my graduate education at the Pennsylvania State University where I earned my Ph.D. in Plant Biology in 2017.

 Non-scientific Interests:

When I am not doing research, I love to stay active, my favorite activities are swimming, running, playing volleyball, dancing, and traveling (Which was easier pre-COVID times).

Brief bio:

I moved from Cali, Colombia to the United States at the age of eighteen to escape politically motivated violence that touched my family personally. Once here, I had to learn the language and to navigate the college transfer process to recommence my undergraduate education at the University of Nevada, Reno. Entering a foreign institution to pursue a male-dominated field as a Latina immigrant while still learning to adapt in a new country was very hard. Despite those challenges, I thrived at the institution. My love of science began in Colombia, but it was at UNR that I fell in love with the field of plant biology.

In 2010, I entered the plant biology Ph.D. program at the Pennsylvania State University where I studied plant-insect interactions under Dr. Dawn Luthe’s mentorship. My dissertation research focused on maize defenses in response to above and belowground insect pests and the hormonal regulation of those defenses. After finishing my PhD in 2017, I started my first post-doctoral research experience at Duke University with Dr. Thomas Mitchell-Olds in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). In my first post-doc, I studied rice genetic diversity in response to flooding environments, this research was funded by the NSF Post-doc Fellowship in the Plant Genome Research Program. At the end of 2019, I started my second post-doctoral research experience in plant-pathogen interactions with the USDA-ARS at the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans. In my current post-doctoral position within ARS food and feed safety research unit, I work in several research projects that use diverse approaches, such as systems biology, -omics, physiology, and deep learning, to understand host-resistance against aflatoxin accumulation in corn.