Bio's of candidates for Secretary/Treasurer

Dr. Hong-Gu Kang

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Dr. Hong-Gu Kang is an Associate Professor of Biology at Texas State University. Hong-Gu received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Chemistry from Seoul National University, and his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology from UCLA. He carried out his post-doctoral research under Dr. Dan Klessig at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University. He is very interested in learning stress-associated molecular changes and their long-lasting impact. His long-term research mission is to improve the production of crop plants via optimizing stress responses. He was trained as a molecular biologist in his doctoral research on transcription regulation. During his doctoral training, he identified a group of protein regulators responding to stress. He then further expanded his research interest into more application-oriented research during his post-doctoral training when designing a genetic screening for a plant defense regulator. This screen identified one of the most studied epigenetic regulators in biotic stress, MORC1. This finding provided important insight that an epigenetic component(s) plays an important role in the regulation and evolution of stress-associated responses/traits. Furthermore, his research program found that transposable elements are a critical mediator between stress and epigenetic responses. His NSF-supported program at Texas State is currently working to reveal the molecular mechanism of how transposable elements contribute to stress responses and how their movements influence the development of stress-associated traits. He has received numerous awards, including the NSF-CAREER award and the Korean Education Ministry Scholarship Award. Hong-Gu is currently teaching Cell Biology and Bioinformatics, and has been an active member of ASPB since 2004.

Dr. Mautusi Mitra

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Dr. Mautusi Mitra is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at University of West Georgia. She received her B.Sc. degree in Botany, from Presidency College (University of Calcutta), and M.Sc. in Botany, from University of Calcutta in India. Dr. Mitra earned her Ph.D. degree in Plant Biology in 2003 from Louisiana State University (LSU) at Baton Rouge, under the supervision of Prof. James V. Moroney. Dr. Mitra’s post-doctoral research with Prof. Anastasios Melis at University of California Berkeley (2004-2009) was focused on the identification of molecular components involved in the regulation of the chlorophyll antenna size in Chlamydomonas. At UWG, her lab employs functional genomics to identify and characterize molecular components involved in photo-acclimation, photo-protection and photosynthetic pigment metabolism in Chlamydomonas.

Dr. Mitra’s research program at UWG recruits primarily undergraduates, graduate (MS) and, high school students. To date, she has trained more than 60 research students; many of these students are pursuing successful STEM careers in national and international universities. Dr. Mitra received the Women’s Young Investigator Travel Award from ASPB in 2012 and, in 2018 she was awarded the ASPB-Plant BLOOME grant to employ Chlamydomonas for K16 Biology education. She received the Excellence in Research Award, and, the Excellence in Teaching Award, for outstanding excellence in student success from the UWG College of Science and Mathematics in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Dr. Mitra is an elected full member in the Sigma Xi organization, and, has been an active member of ASPB, including the southern section since 1999.

Dr. Mustafa Morsy

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Dr. Morsy earned his PhD degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Arkansas with research focused on plant response to abiotic stress. He joined John Cushman lab at the University of Nevada, Reno as a postdoctoral fellow to continue his work on plant response to abiotic stress. Later, in Marilyn Roossinck lab at the Samuel Robert Noble Foundation, he studied the molecular mechanisms that govern plant-fungal-viral interaction that lead to increasing plant thermotolerance. In 2011, he joined the University of West Alabama (UWA) as a full-time faculty in the Department of Biology. The Morsy lab at UWA focuses at the discovery of novel endophytes that can be employed to improve crop productivity, under normal and abiotic stress conditions. His lab is using tomato and corn as model systems to test novel endophytes under greenhouse and field conditions. The Morsy lab identified many fungal endophytes that improve tomato and corn production under greenhouse and field conditions. The Morsy lab collaborates with several industry partners to develop biofertilizers to help with the dire need of increasing crop production to meet the demand of the growing global population and climatic changes. In addition, the Morsy lab studies the molecular mechanisms that control a three-way symbiosis between a plant, a fungus, and a mycovirus that lead to significant increase of plant heat tolerance. The Morsy lab research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alabama Department of Agriculture, and other private foundations. See Morsy lab website for more details and recent publications by clicking here.

In addition, Mustafa is a committed educator who encourages undergraduate students’ involvement in research via independent studies in his lab and through research-based curriculum. He is the Principal Investigator of two National Science Foundation grants that focuses in improving undergraduate education at UWA, a minority serving institute, through implementation of a comprehensive research-based curriculum.

Dr. Morsy serves as the Chair and co-founder of the UWA Research Symposium, and also chair of the annual Symposium of the Tiny Earth: Student Sourcing Antibiotic Discovery, a global network of more than 120 universities headquartered at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Additionally, Dr. Morsy provides an outreach program to local K12 students through the Science Saturdays program he coordinates every fall and spring semester on UWA campus.