Rob Baker, Principle Investigator
Rob studies the origin and maintenance of biodiversity, specifically plant form and function with an ultimate goal of furthering integration of evolutionary theory and developmental biology, improving agricultural sustainability, and contributing to plant restoration and conservation efforts. He tackles these problems from a basic science perspective by examining developmental variation at the intra-specific level while integrating techniques and approaches including quantitative genetics, genomics, transcriptomics, anatomy, morphology, and physiology in plants from a variety of natural, model, and crop systems.
Prior to joining the Biology Department at Miami University, Rob earned a B.A. in Biology from Reed College in Portland, OR. After his undergraduate studies, he worked for AgResearch, Ltd (Palmerston North, New Zealand) and the University of Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder with Pamela Diggle (now at the University of Connecticut). At the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Rob received a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Cynthia Weinig.
Current Lab Members
Tyler Thrash, PhD
Office: Pearson 334
Tyler Thrash joined the lab in the fall of 2019 to work on a systems biology approach to abiotic stress in Brassica rapa. Tyler earned a PhD at Miami University and has been conducting postdoctoral research at ETH Zürich. In the Baker Lab, Tyler will be looking at the connections between shoot and root architecture in a mapping population of Brassica rapa. He was lucky enough to witness the world’s larges unbranched inflorescence (Amorphophallus titanum, titan arum or corpse flower) on his first day in the lab!
Tim Pegg, Botany Ph.D. Student
Office: Pearson 334
Tim works on abiotic stress in Fabaceae, specifically root aerenchyma formation in response to flooding.
Hansol Lee, EEEB Ph.D. Student
Office: Pearson 334
Hansol joined the Baker Lab in January, 2019 to earn a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (EEEB). Her research includes the genetic architecture of ecophysiological responses to abiotic stress in Brassica rapa.
Grace Brock, Undergraduate Researcher
Grace is a Botany and Creative Writing double major at Miami University. She joined the Baker Lab in 2017 and in addition to her work in the lab, which includes bulking the Brassica RIL population, she is participating in the Plant Bio Super Group meetings in the Biology Department and is working on several writing projects for the lab.
Eastyn Newsome, Undergraduate Researcher
Eastyn is a recent convert to Botany from Bioengineering. In the Baker Lab, her current work focuses on the effects of plant-microbe interactions on root anatomy in Brassica rapa and stomatal density across multiple Brassica species. In addition to her work in the lab, Eastyn is a former member of the Miami University Equestrian team and continues horseback riding in her spare time (when she’s not working weekends in the lab).
Ranger Baker-Nysson, Lab Mascot
Ranger’s dogged work ethic and willingness to go just about anywhere and do just about anything to finish a job once started – typically fetch – serve as an inspiration to us all. Plus, he’s fluffy.
Baker Lab Alumni
Logan Mather, Undergraduate Researcher
Logan ’19 is a Botany Major who joined the lab to work on an independent study project concerning the development in Mimulus gemmipara. In addition to his work in Mimulus, Logan pitches in on a variety of Brassica projects and is currently studying the ecophysiology of Eucalyptus in Chile.
Vada Bowen, Undergraduate Research Tech, Summer 2019
Vada is a Botany Major who is assisting the lab in bulking Brassica seeds as well as running pilot studies aimed at teasing apart genetic and environmental interactions in the field.
Jared Lutz, Undergraduate Researcher 2017-2019
Jared Lutz ’19 is a Biology major who is troubleshooting high-throughput non-destructive protocols for quantifying leaf venation using several biomedical image analysis programs in the Baker lab. Jared is also captain of the Miami University water skiing team, and recently lead the team in their winning bid for the national championships!
Casey Albarran, REU student, 2018
Casey is an undergraduate at Homboldt State University who joined the Baker Lab during the summer of 2018 for an NSF-REU program focused on Ecology in Human Dominated Landscapes. Casey worked on quantifying the micromorphological and anatomical inputs to Water Use Efficiency in a mapping population of Brassica rapa to elucidate genomic loci that could be used for increasing WUE and therefore improving agricultural sustainability.
Asuman Inan, Summer Intern, 2018
Asuman Inan was an undergraduate student at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. She worked on a number of projects including a multi-population developmental analysis of Mimulus branching patterns and a näive Bayes multiclass approach to high-throughput phenotyping in Brassica.