Plant Resilience Under Climate Threats

During the 21st century Climate change and Food sustainability will reach the point of maximum danger. The Challenges represented by the impact of climate change on the terrestrial biosphere and its repercussions for supplying food to the projected 9-10 billions people worldwide by 2050 will be unprecedented. On the one hand, food yields should continue increasing to keep with population growth. On the other hand, plant species will have to adapt to the fast changes in climate and increase their resilience to pest, temperature and water limitations. These environmental changes are already threatening crop yield but their long-term impact on ecosystems and food productivity remains unclear. My general interest lies in the biochemical and physiological resilience of plants to these environmental stresses. In particular, I am interested in understanding how kinetics regulation and substrate requirements of key enzymatic processes define plant productivity and control their survival. These key enzymatic processes are essential to accurately predict current and future impact of climate change on ecosystem productivity and biogeochemical as well as defining new target for crop improvements in their future resilience to Climate variabilities.

My research combines theoretical and empirical approaches to disentangle the complexity of plant metabolic pathway. The empirical approach includes field measurements in temperate and sub-arctic deciduous ecosystems as well as greenhouse environmental manipulation. The theoretical approach includes assessment of current Terrestrial ecosystems models' limitations and design and sensitivity-tests of new parameterizations for respiratory COproduction. 

To investigate how to takle the needs of a growing population for healthy and locally grown food, I developped the Princeton Vertical Farming Project. This project aims to present vertical farming as part of the solution and to re-establish the connection between the growing industry of Vertical Farms and Academic Research. We investigate multi-aspect of vertical farms sustainability on the business development side but also engineering, environmental and biological sides. 

Associated Websites 

Princeton Vertical Farming Project

Princeton Plant Biology Website

Current projects:

Improving the representation of Photosynthesis and Respiration in GFDL Land Model

Mechanistic representation of Leaf Area Index (LAI) control within plant canopy

Investigating the carbon footprint of vertical farms: a Life Cycle Assessment for future self Sustained Home

The origin and intensity of the break in the Kok effect

Multispecies comparison of leaf photosynthetic and respiration capacity 

Photosynthetic Light limitation as a target for future yield improvement 


Past Projects


Shedding Light on the benefit of Mycorrhizal network to improve plant resilience to pests

Trees Biodiversity and resilience to climate change


Environmental stable Isotopes as tool and research target

Designing new tools for Plant Physiology Measurements

Teaching Advanced data processing in Jupyter Notebook: Princeton University Python Community

Current Lab members

Luqman Issah '21  - Princeton Vertical Farming Project

Beimnet Shitaye '20  - Princeton Vertical Farming Project

Kor Akiti '19  - Princeton Vertical Farming Project

Heather Waters '20  - Princeton Vertical Farming Project

Natalie Grayson '20 - Princeton Vertical Farming Project

Kyra Gregory '19  - Princeton Vertical Farming Project


Current collaborators

Stephen Pacala - Princeton University

Kevin Griffin - Columbia University 

Elena Shevliakova - NOAA

Sergey Malyshev - NOAA

Kelly Caylor - UC Santa Barbara

Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi - University of Michigan

Former Students

Manolya Adan (Imperial College, London), Rozalie Czesana '18, Jesenia Haynes '18, Aamir Zainulabadeen '18, Olivia Trase '17, Natalie Saenz '15, Jordan Lubkeman '16, Atleigh Forden '16, Alana Reynolds '18, Jackie Jones '18, Jacob Eisenberg '16, Ethan Vasquez '16, Joseph Redmond '18

"Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are!" Xolani Nkosi