Current Lab Members

"My interest in plant biology is probably hereditary--some of my earliest memories are of keeping my Dad company on the tractor while planting and harvesting corn, soybeans, and wheat on our family farm in Illinois.  I received a Bachelor’s degree in Honors Biology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and then went on to complete a PhD in Plant Biology in the laboratory of Neelima Sinha at the University of California, Davis.  At UC-Davis, my research focused on the mechanisms of cell division and differentiation during maize leaf development.  A big question that fascinated me during my PhD was “how do cells know where they are and what they are supposed to do?”  After my PhD, I chose to pursue this question using pollination as a model system.  I joined Ueli Grossniklaus’s lab at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and began to study intercellular communication during reproductive development.  My lab's current research focuses on the communication that occurs between the pollen tube and the female gametophyte during pollen tube reception."

Dr. Sharon A. Kessler

Assistant Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology

At Purdue University since August, 2016

Formerly at the University of Oklahoma (2012-2016)

Daniel S. Jones

PhD candidate in Plant Biology

(at the University of Oklahoma)

In the Kessler Lab since 2014

Jing Yuan

PhD student in Botany

In the Kessler Lab since 2015

Thomas "Cole" Davis

Master's Student in Botany

Former Kessler Lab Undergraduate

In the Kessler Lab since Spring, 2015

"I come from a country on the other side of the earth―China, which is also the place where I was born. When I was a child, I was interested in everything surrounding me and had a strong curiosity about nature. I was always wondering how plants and animal grow. As we accumulate more and more knowledge, we will gradually get to the bottom of these mysteries. I am especially interested in plant biology because of my grandparents who are plant biology professors in China. They guided me to learn how about the diversity of plant species. I got my Bachelor's degree in Henan Agricultural University. And now, I am pursuing my PhD degree at Purdue University. I am interested in plant reproduction. My current research focuses on the mechanisms of plant fertility and plant-pathogen interactions."

"As an undergraduate in the Botany Department here at the University of Oklahoma, I became fascinated by how much there was left to discover about organisms on which we completely rely. After receiving my Bachelor's degree in Botany, I stayed at OU and completed a Master's degree in Plant Biology with Dr. Scott Russell where I studied sexual reproduction in plants focusing on gamete biology and zygotic development in rice. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in Dr. Kessler's lab where I use molecular tools and microscopy to study the mechanisms underlying cellular communication during pollen tube reception. Through my work over the past few years, I have also come to realize my love for imaging and photography and pursue these endeavors in my time outside the lab. I have been happily married since 2011 and my wife has a big person job as a systems engineer in the aerospace industry. I am a baseball enthusiast and an avid supporter of the Chicago Cubs, as well as an Okie-born Sooner football fan!"

Dr. Yan Ju


In the Kessler Lab since July 2017

"My interest in biology can be traced back to my junior high school when I first used microscope in classes. The fantastic microscopic world attracted me a lot. I pursued this dream as a Ph.D. student in Peking University. In Prof. Sodmergen's laboratory, I expended my interests in reproductive biology because dramatic changing in cell shape happened during this period, and it's crucial for seeding. The most interesting work was focused on the sperm cell preference in double fertilization and the most important work was on molecular mechanism of the gene JINGUBANG. Now I join Dr. Sharon Kessler's lab focusing on the mechanisms of pollen tube reception and working with a lot of interesting people."

"In my undergraduate, I was part of a natural products discovery group where I worked with analytical chemistry and mycology and also part of a group working on female hormone's effects on immune cells; however, it wasn't until I joined the Kessler Lab that I discovered my passion for molecular and cellular biology alongside plant biology. I graduated in May 2016 with a double major in Microbiology and Biochemistry at the university of Oklahoma and followed Dr. Kessler to Purdue where I am now pursing my masters in Plant Biology. I'm particularly interested in plant development, signaling, and physiology."

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