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Christopher Dundas

Assistant Professor
Plant Biology; Institute of Bioinformatics

Chris was born in Scotland and grew up in New Jersey along the Jersey Shore. He attended SUNY Buffalo for his B.S. in Chemical Engineering (2015) and the University of Texas at Austin for his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering (2020). As a doctoral student, he used synthetic biology to harness electroactive bacteria for materials science applications. As a TomKat Postdoctoral Fellow in Sustainable Energy at Stanford University (2021-2024), his research focused on creating genetic circuits in root tissues and root-colonizing bacteria to metabolically engineer transkingdom carbon exchange. In 2024, Chris joined UGA's Department of Plant Biology and Institute of Bioinformatics as an Assistant Professor. His research focuses on developing plant & microbial synthetic biology tools to domesticate non-model plants, understand plant microbiome assembly, and optimize biological carbon sequestration.

Research Areas:
Research Interests:

Designer genetic control of plants and plant microbiomes is key to addressing basic biological questions and optimizing biomanufacturing, agriculture, and sustainability biotechnologies. Towards developing this control in crops and non-model plant/microbial species, we are using synthetic biology to rewire plant physiology and plant-microbe interactions. Genetic circuit design is employed to create sensor and actuator (e.g., metabolic pathways, biomaterials) machinery for studying & engineering plant microbiome assembly and plant responses to the environment. As plant-microbe interactions critically control global carbon cycling, we are also creating synthetic biology tools to better understand transkingdom carbon fluxes and augment biological carbon sequestration into soils.

Selected Publications:
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin 2020
B.S. Chemical Engineering, SUNY Buffalo 2015

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