Kevin Cox

Taproot S5E4: Interacting with Plants, Pathogens, and the Public

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Dr. Kevin Cox. Kevin earned his PhD at Texas A&M University before returning to his hometown of St Louis, Missouri to do a postdoc with Blake Meyers at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Kevin has won numerous awards and grants and was recently awarded an HHMI Hanna H. Gray fellowship.

We talk about Kevin’s work “TAL effector driven induction of a SWEET gene confers susceptibility to bacterial blight of cotton” by Cox et al. 2017 in Nature Communications. He tells us about the molecular mechanisms of bacterial blight on cotton as well as the technologies and collaborations that made this work possible. 

Kevin shares his path to plant science and how his exposure to new courses and research experiences led him to a career studying plant pathology. We talk about how he now uses multiple online and in-person platforms to share his passion and bridge communication gaps between the science community and the public. We also talk about how the pandemic has affected Kevin’s work as a postdoc and how he was able to balance work responsibilities while supporting his young daughter’s sudden online schooling during the early stages of the pandemic.

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Read Episode Transcript



Cox, K., Meng, F., Wilkins, K. et al. TAL effector driven induction of a SWEET gene confers susceptibility to bacterial blight of cotton. Nat Commun 8, 15588 (2017).

Kevin’s YouTube Channel @Bioguy 

Kevin’s Twitch @Bioguy


Twitter Handles 

Kevin Cox Twitter @K_Bioguy_Cox

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.

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