Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Jacob O. Brunkard

Jacob O. Brunkard, first author of Plant cell-cell transport via plasmodesmata is regulated by light and the circadian clock

Current Position: Principal Investigator, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley and Plant Gene Expression Center, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Education: B.A. in Biology and History with High Honors, Swarthmore College, and Ph.D. in Plant Biology, UC Berkeley

Nonscientific interests: Jake plays piano and viola, reads and collects the literature of Black Sparrow Press, and plants and tends to fern gardens in whatever space he can find.

Brief bio: Jake began his scientific career studying plant ecology at Swarthmore College with José-Luis Machado. Over summers, he worked as a field assistant in the jungles of Panamá at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute studying seedling establishment, and in the forests of Pennsylvania investigating invasive plant species distribution and management.  After college, Jake worked as a technician to hone his molecular biology skills on a proteomics project with S.P. Dinesh-Kumar and Mike Snyder at Yale University. In addition, he worked as a researcher and public outreach consultant on invasive plant species management for an environmentalist NGO, the Brodhead Watershed Association, with Jeri Jewett-Smith.  Jake conducted his Ph.D. dissertation research on stromules and plasmodesmata with Pat Zambryski at UC Berkeley, and then did a postdoc on maize developmental genetics with Sarah Hake at PGEC (USDA ARS). He has also closely collaborated with the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) and with Barbara Baker’s lab at PGEC investigating the molecular activities of antiviral RNAi machinery.  Jake started his own in lab in 2017 with support from an NIH Early Independence Award (DP5) at UC Berkeley / PGEC, and research in his lab is focused on the regulation of plant metabolism at genomic, molecular, cellular, and organismal scales.