Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Aleca Borsuk

Aleca Borsuk, first author of The spatial distribution of chlorophyll in leaves

Current Position: Master of Environmental Science Candidate, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Botany (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Non-scientific Interests: Hiking, dancing, and teaching

Brief bio: I majored in mechanical engineering as an undergraduate so that I could help design the next generation of solar cells. Yet, more impressive to me than my laboratory devices were the diversity of leaves—nature’s solar cells—thriving in environments as varied as cracks in the sidewalk to the beds of rivers. Wanting to know how leaves have adapted to Earth’s many environments drew me into the world of plant biology. Since then, the form and function of photosynthetic tissue continues to inspire me every day. I am currently a NSF GRFP fellow and Master of Environmental Science candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, working with Craig Brodersen. Broadly, my research interests are plant functional morphology and ecophysiology. The lens through which I approach this work is borrowed from materials science, i.e. I view the leaf as a tunable substrate for the reactions of photosynthesis. To understand natural variation in photosynthetic capacity, I believe it is necessary to know how biophysical processes are coordinated within the heterogeneous inner landscape of the leaf. I look forward to pursuing these research interests as a Joint Doctoral Degree student with Yale University and the New York Botanical Garden beginning the in fall of 2019.