SIPS Plant Biology Section

Without plants, life on earth would cease to exist. Plants shape our environment and provide us with food, medicine, clothing and shelter. Today we are faced with an unprecedented series of challenges — global climate change, food shortages, rapid loss of biodiversity and new and evolving diseases are threatening both the health of the planet as well as human health and well-being.

Through its broad-based and innovative studies of basic plant biology, the Plant Biology section at Cornell University's School of Integrative Plant Science is positioned to contribute real and impactful solutions to these problems at local, state, national and global scales. Learn more about the history of our section and the vision of our school.

Breadth of research

Development & signaling

Many of our faculty investigate the processes by which plants grow and develop different structures and tissue types.

Breadth of research

Organelle biology

Plant Biology faculty study the biology of chloroplasts and other plant cell organelles, providing insight into ways that photosynthesis and other plant processes might be improved.

Breadth of research

Systematics & evolution

Study of the plant evolution and diversity has a long history at Cornell with experts in many plant families.

Breadth of research

Systems biology

Our faculty are working to model complex biological systems from genes and gene regulation, to proteomics and the evolution of specialized plant compounds.

hands in blue gloves examining plant material
illustration of a protein structure from the van Wijk lab
two women looking at a computer screen
digram of plant metabolism

Graduate and undergraduate training

Plant Biology offers degrees and training opportunities at all stages of the educational pipeline.

group of people standing

Graduate field of plant biology

Students interested in obtaining an MS or PhD degree in the graduate field of plant Biology can select from a variety of research areas and concentrations, reflecting the broad diversity of faculty research in the Plant Biology Section.

Undergraduate — Plant sciences major

Undergraduates in the plant sciences major can select from a diverse set of concentrations including plant molecular, cellular and developmental biology, plant evolution and diversity, plant computational biology, and plants and human health.

Undergraduate — Plant Biology Concentration

Undergraduates majoring in biology can choose the plant biology concentration.

Undergraduate research — Plant Genome Internship

The NSF sponsored Plant Genome Internship introduces high school and undergraduate students to state-of-the-art techniques in plant biology and trains students in scientific ethics, laboratory safety, and data presentation.

Undergrad Research - other

The Office of Undergraduate Research provides information about exploring the wealth of research opportunities at Cornell.

The Honors Program in Biological Sciences is designed to offer advanced training in laboratory and field research through the performance of an original research project under the direct guidance of a member of the Cornell faculty.

Bailey Hortorium

Bailey Hortorium is a major center for plant systematics, with a mission encompassing ethnobotany, paleobotany, biodiversity studies, and pharmaceutical studies of tropical plants.

dried plant material on a paper

News from the SIPS Plant Biology Section

Learn more about our recent developments and discoveries.

Man holds a fresh salmon.

News

New program to speed salmon breeding
Breeding Insight, a new program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Cornell University, will share latest tools with breeders in the U.S.
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Biology Section
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
a young professor and a student look at a document together

News

Students, faculty and staff were recognized for their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and excellence within the graduate community at the 2021 Graduate Diversity and Inclusion Awards and Recognition Celebration.
  • Department of Communication
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Department of Entomology
A person doing lab research

News

The Cornell China Center (CCC) has announced six new grant awards, totaling $140,000, to support research by Cornell faculty teams partnering with researchers in China.
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Biology Section
  • Biological and Environmental Engineering
Anthocerotibacter panamensis under a microscope

News

Led by Boyce Thompson Institute faculty member Fay-Wei Li, researchers have discovered a new species of cyanobacteria, Anthocerotibacter panamensis, which could help illuminate how photosynthesis evolved to create the world as we know it. The...
  • Boyce Thompson Institute
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Biology Section
A group of women with bt eggplant in a field

News

The award recognizes Cornell Alliance for Science Director Sarah Evanega, Ph.D. ’09 for outstanding achievement in the advancement of science in the public policy arena.
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Biology Section