Associate Professor Justin Borevitz
Areas of expertise
- Genetics 0604
- Plant Biology 0607
- Evolutionary Biology 0603
- Ecology 0602
Justin Borevitz obtained his PhD in 2002 from the University of California at San Diego with Joanne Chory studying Natural Variation in Arabidopsis light response. He performed postdoctoral research with Joseph Ecker (2002-2004) at the Salk Institute studying plant genomic diversity. From 2004 until 2011 he was an assistant and associate professor in the Dept of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. Research focused on Genome Wide Association Studies in Arabidopsis and next generation genotyping by sequencing in emerging plant model organisms. Current work in the Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology includes the identifing the genetic basis of adaptation to seasonal climates using Phenomic and Landscape Genomic approaches in plant model organisms and foundation species.
Genetics of climate adaptation in plants
A major interest of the lab is the genetic basiss of adaptation to regional climates with altered growing seasons. Quantitative and population genetic approaches in Arabidopsis, Brachypodium, Pelargonium, and Eucalypts are being used to genetically dissect adaptive traits. What genes and what alleles explain differential survival of seedlings and reproductive success under typical conditions experienced in the field? Are these new variants or new combinations of existing polymorphisms? Advanced Genomic and Phenomic approaches bring unprecedented power and speed to this work.
Genomic and Phenomic approaches to natural variation
A parallel focus is on the development of methods to enable comprehensive studies. Tools such as Genotyping By Sequencing and Whole Genome Shotgun are being used for population structure and haplotype analysis. Genome Wide Association Mapping and Landscape Genomic scans associate variation with phenotypes and environments where accessions were collected. High Throughput Phenotyping throughout development under dynamic conditions captures high dimensional targeted and anonymous traits for disection via association mapping.
Plant Energy Biology (Centre of Excellence)
Improving the efficiency of plant solar energy capture, use and yield, is a necessary solution to the increasing demand on finite land, water, and nutrient resources. Increasing environmental challenges adversely affect growth efficiency and further perturb plant energy balance among capture and use, affecting yield. We take a novel approach to improve sustainable yield by optimizing the overall energy efficiency of metabolism, transport, and plant development. We will discover networks of gene variants, signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms that regulate energy efficiency under limiting and fluctuating conditions. This approach will provide a basis for sustainable productivity of crops and future-proof plants in changing climates.
- Landscape restoration genomics for climate adaptation in Eucalyptus foundation species (Primary Investigator)