|Dustin M. Ray
Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of Minnesota, Duluth
Twitter Handle: @dustinmray
Dustin is interested in the interactions of plant form and function, applying the ethos “ask the plant” imparted upon him by his PhD advisor. His work has examined the petioles of South African geraniums (Pelargonium), addressing the question of whether the petiole can be optimized for both mechanical support of the leaf blade and for the movement of water and sugar to and from the leaf. His work suggested that there is not a space constraint within the petiole for the vascular tissues, likely due to the highly optimized shape and structure of the petiole. Dustin’s work also explores the phloem, investigating the seasonal changes to phloem structure and function. He recently developed a protocol to use a sieve element-specific antibody, LM26, in Poplars, and found that the epitope bound by LM26 is only detected when the phloem is thought to be actively transporting.
Sieve tube elements tagged with the LM26 antibody in Populus balsamifera.
Dustin’s journey into botany was a winding one. After taking a number of botany-related courses during his undergraduate studies, Dustin began pursuing a master’s degree in neuroanatomy before the roots from his prior botanical studies took hold. He then changed thesis and jumped head-first into botany.
Outside of the lab, Dustin is a triathlete, having qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championships in the Spring and Olympic distances twice. His free time is mostly occupied by his 4-year-old daughter with whom he enjoys hiking, sledding, and reading.
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