Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Mark Jenness

Mark Jenness, first author of An ATP-binding cassette transporter, ABCB19, regulates leaf position and morphology during phototropin1-mediated blue light responses

Current Position: Postdoctoral scholar at the University of Maryland

Education: Ph.D. in Plant Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park; B.S. in Biology from California State University, Monterey Bay

Non-scientific Interests: golf, skiing, fermentation (bread and beer!)

Brief bio: I have always had a love for STEM, and during my undergraduate studies courses in biochemistry and molecular cell biology piqued my curiosity. The influence of growing up in the California Bay Area had my initial interests in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, however, an NSF summer internship in plant biology shifted my career toward plant research. For my Ph.D. I joined Angus Murphy’s lab to work on a project that integrated all these interests: plant ABCB transporters. In plants, ABCBs mobilize a small subset of amphipathic and aromatic organic acids but in mammals transport a broad range of drugs and chemotherapeutics. During my Ph.D. I worked on characterizing several ABCB transporters and how they participate in the movement of the phytohormone auxin during growth and development. As I continue as a postdoctoral scholar in the Murphy lab, I am working to understand how these proteins function at the molecular level and how they compare to their mammalian relatives. Further, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of substrate recognition and the role local lipid environments play in ABCB transporter functionality.