Taproot S5E2: Multiculturalism Matters in the Rhizosphere–and in Academia

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Dr. Adán Colón-Carmona, Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Adán received his PhD from University of California, Irvine and he did postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute and at the University of California, Davis. His research currently focuses on plant rhizosphere interactions, abiotic stress response, and cell cycle. 

We talk with Adán about a recent publication in the Journal of Experimental Botany – “Influence of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions on rhizobacterial communities and natural variation in root exudates” (Micallef et al., 2009). He explains that different accessions of  Arabidopsis, even when grown in the same starting soil, eventually have unique bacterial communities, and discusses why he thinks their exudates may be the reason.

As a Mexican-born immigrant to the USA, Adán describes how the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) has positively impacted his life. Additionally, he points out the value of multiculturalism. He explains how he has relied on his own multiple identities to empathize with, teach, and mentor students whose lives have become increasingly challenging during the COVID lockdowns.

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Read Episode Transcript



adan.colon-carmona@umb.edu Adán’s email


Micallef SA, Shiaris MP, Colón-Carmona A (2009) Influence of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions on rhizobacterial communities and natural variation in root exudates. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 1729-1742


Twitter Handles 

Adán’s Twitter @AColonCarmona 

Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell

Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi

Taproot Podcast Twitter @taprootpodcast


The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications in plant biology are created. In each episode, co-hosts Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter take a paper from the literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of its authors.

Subscribe to The Taproot podcast on iTunes , Stitcher, or Spotify.

Questions, feedback, suggestions?  Contact us at taproot@plantae.org.


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