Craig S. Pikaard

Indiana University


Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Membership Type: Member (elected 2017)

Biosketch

Craig Pikaard earned a B.S. degree from Penn State, a PhD from Purdue, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. Craig joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis in 1990 and in 2009 moved to Indiana University, with appointments in the Department of Biology and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. At IU, Craig holds the rank of Distinguished Professor and Carlos O. Miller Professor of Plant Growth and Development. Craig is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was awarded the Martin Gibbs Medal awarded by the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2015 for pioneering work revealing genetic and biochemical mechanisms involved in selective gene silencing and epigenetic regulation.

Research Interests

The Pikaard laboratory studies ribosomal RNA gene organization and expression, RNA polymerase I transcription, and RNA-mediated gene silencing. One focus of the laboratory is the epigenetic phenomenon known as nucleolar dominance, a phenomenon in which subsets of nearly identical ribosomal RNA genes are selectively silenced.  A second focus concerns the DNA-dependent RNA Polymerases IV and V, which are plant-specific enzymes involved in small RNA-mediated DNA methylation and gene silencing. The Pikaard lab has played a leading role in the discovery and functional characterization of Polymerases IV and Pol V and the pathway in which they function, using a combination of genetics, genomics, molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry.

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