Julia Bailey-Serres

University of California, Riverside

Election Year: 2016
Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Membership Type: Member


Julia Bailey-Serres is a plant biologist known for her research on mechansims of plant adaptive responses to enviornmental stresses. She is recognized for the in-depth dissection of the function of SUBMERGENCE 1A gene, responsible for survival of rice plants under prolonged submergence as evidenced by its successful use in breeding programs that has led to stabilizing rice grain yield in flood-prone regions of Asia. In addition, she established technologies to uncover the activity of genes in specific cell types of multicellular organisms, through the capture of ribosomes and the associated mRNAs. Bailey-Serres was born and raised in California, graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in biology and the University of Edinburgh with a PhD in botany. She began to work on anaerobiosis and mRNA translation as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, an interest she has maintained as a faculty of the University of California, Riverside since 1990. She has mentored 20 postdoctoral researchers and 19 doctoral students and currently directs the Center for Plant Cell Biology. Bailey-Serres is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). She has served as Secretary for ASPB and as an Associate editor for several journals.

Research Interests

Bailey-Serres is interested in genetic mechanisms that underlie the ability of plants to thrive in frequently challenging environments. Her research ranges from the study of individual genes and their function to processes of signal transduction and gene network regulation, critical for strategies that enable survival under extreme unfavorable conditions, particularly floods and droughts. A key interest is in understanding how plant cells perceive, transduce, and ultimately respond to oxygen deprivation and re-oxygenation, whether a consequence of environmental or developmental factors. In her research, natural genetic variation and functional genomics are paired to explore plasticity in metabolism and development that enable successful growth under stress and recovery conditions in crops and model species. The research integrates studies of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms of gene regulation with an emphasis on mRNA turnover, sequestration and translation in specific organs and individual cell-types. The overall goal of these investigations is to identify and understand mechanisms that enable sustained crop production despite extremes in water availability, thereby alleviating pressures caused by climate change and enhancing global food security.

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