Blake C. Meyers

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2022)


Since 2016, Blake Meyers is a Member & Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, and a Professor in the Division of Plant Science & Technology at the University of Missouri - Columbia. His lab is known for its study of small RNAs in diverse plant species, using a combination of molecular, genomic, and computational approaches. Meyers was born and grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia. He received an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Chicago, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in genetics from the University of California - Davis, studying disease resistance genes in lettuce. His first postdoc position, in DuPont's Crop Genetics group, focused on maize genome organization and transposable elements; during a second postdoc at UC Davis, he studied Arabidopsis disease resistance genes. In 2002, Meyers joined the faculty of the University of Delaware, where he worked until 2015, rising to professor and department chair. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Plant Biologists. Meyers has been an editor of The Plant Cell since 2008, Editor-in-Chief of the journal from 2020-2024.

Research Interests

The Meyers laboratory was one of the earliest users of short-read sequencing and co-developed applications of this technology including small RNA analysis and related approaches. His group supported these efforts by development of bioinformatics methods for data handling and analysis. These experiments provided key insights into the biological functions and genomic impact of small RNAs. The lab's work in Arabidopsis identified and characterized microRNAs, plant small RNA biogenesis pathways, and their impact on gene expression and genome biology. Subsequent work in rice, Medicago, soybean, maize and other species described the diverse mechanisms by which small RNAs are produced and function, as well as their targets, and their evolution in flowering plants. The Meyers lab has performed extensive investigations of the functions, biogenesis, and evolution of trans-acting siRNAs and phased, secondary siRNAs (phasiRNAs). One focus of the work is reproductive phasiRNAs generated from non-coding RNAs; these are prevalent in anthers of many flowering plants during early anther development and meiosis, and are required for full male fertility, demonstrated specifically in species of grasses.

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