TEDxBoston

David Des Marais

Professor @MIT

David L. Des Marais is the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor and an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. Dave is a plant biologist working at the interface of molecular biology, ecophysiology, evolution, and quantitative genetics. He received a BA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley before completing doctoral research at Duke University where his dissertation work contributed to our understanding of the evolutionary constraints acting on multi-function enzymes. Dave began focusing on plant ecophysiology, particularly plant-water relations, while a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Dave received a USDA NIFA fellowship for his post-doctoral research addressing the interactive effects of plant response to multivariate environments. His research over the past ten years has extended these themes, specifically addressing how plants perceive, integrate, and respond to complex environmental cues at the cellular and whole-plant scale. Current topics of interest include the regulatory control of stress response, resource partitioning in fluctuating environments, and the interaction between genetics and the environment as plant populations respond to anthropogenic climate change. A central theme of the Des Marais Lab is understanding the mechanisms and consequences of genotype-by-environment interaction, the widely observed phenomenon that different varieties of a single species respond differently to common environmental cues.