My research interests focus on the regulation of plant gene expression in response to abiotic stress and extreme environments, with a particular interest in the role of chromatin structure and genome organization in gene regulation. Venues associated with spaceflight provide an opportunity to explore plant genomic responses to an environment that is outside the evolutionary experience of terrestrial organisms. This unique platform presents a background by which adaptive metabolisms can be observed as they are crafted to cope with a stress de novo; providing a window into the origins of adaptive processes.
1989-1996, Postdoctoral Research Associate:
University of Florida, (Gainesville, FL) Horticultural Sciences, and
Northwestern University, (Evanston, IL) Molecular and Cellular Biology
1996-2004, Assistant In, Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida
2005-2008, Associate Scientist, Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida
2008 – present, Research Associate Professor, Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida
Honors and misc Academic Experience:
Ad Hoc reviewer, Journals Plant Physiology, Plant Cell, Plant Journal, Advances in Space Research, Planta, Journal of Space Astronomy Research, Environmental and Experimental Botany, and others
Ad Hoc reviewer, USDA, NSF granting agencies
Member, NSF grant panel: Biochemistry of Gene expression
Editorial Board, Gravitational and Space biology
Governing Board, American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology
Faculty Search Committee, NASA / UF-SABRE search, Fall 2002
Faculty Search Committee, UF-Microbiology Cell Science search, Fall 2004
Educational Outreach Activities Summary (details available at end of CV):
Space Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP) Principle Investigator, 2000-2004
Elementary Education Science projects 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006
PBS / NASA Science Files – The Case of the Prize-winning Plants, http://scifiles.larc.nasa.gov/treehouse.html
The UF Genetics Educational Outreach – Scientific Thinking & Educational Partnership (STEP) (http://www.ufgenetics.com/VideoFeatures_Listing.aspx?id=20)
Presentation for UF/FAAE Tech Workshop / Agricultural Education and Communication
Space Agriculture in the Classroom - Growing Space magazine article (volume 3, p7) and outreach kits for students (http://www.spaceag.org/gsenglish3.htm).
Community Outreach – Explore magazine
The National High Magnetic field Laboratory’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Internship Program
Graduate student committees for: Undergraduate Advisor of:
Michael Manak – M.S. 2001 Jordan Barney – Fall 2002 - 2007
Carla Lyerly – Ph.D. 2002 Barry Solomon – Fall 2008
John Mayfield – Ph.D. 2007 Claire Amalfitano – Spring 2009 - present
Anne Visscher – Ph.D. 2009
Tufan Gokirmak – Ph.D. current
Extramural Funding (last 10 years):
USDA - Integrating the various stress responses of Adh1 by in vivo footprinting R.J. Ferl and A-L. Paul, 11/1/97-10/31/99, Role: Co-P.I. and in charge of reporting to the agency
USDA - Chromatin Structure and Gene Expression in Plants R.J. Ferl and A-L. Paul, 9/1/98-8/31/01. Role: Co-P.I. and in charge of reporting to the agency
NSF / NHMFL - Low Gravity Plant Growth Experiments Using High Magnetic Field Gradient Levitation M.W. Meisel, A-L. Paul, R.J. Ferl and J. Brooks, 9/1/99-8/31/01Role: Co-P.I.
NASA Flight Grant - Transgenic plant biomonitors of spaceflight exposure R.J. Ferl and A-L. Paul. 9/1/2000-8/31/2006. (terminated by NASA 12-2005). Role: Co-P.I.
NASA Space Biotechnology and Commercial Applications - Changes in Arabidopsis gene expression imposed by reduced atmospheric pressure. A-L Paul and R.J. Ferl, 9/1/02 – 8/31/03 Role: P.I.
NASA Fundamental Biology Ground-Based Research – Functional Genomics of Low Pressure Response and Adaptation in Plants R.J. Ferl, A-L. Paul, 9/1/04 – 8/31/07 (terminated by NASA 12-2005). Role: Co-P.I. and in charge of reporting to the agency
Current Extramural Funding
NASA Flight Grant - Transgenic plant biomonitors of spaceflight exposure – telemetric data collection. R.J. Ferl and A-L. Paul. 4/1/2007-8/31/2010 Role: Co-P.I. and in charge of reporting to the agency. $450,000.00. NASA NNX07AH270
NASA Fundamental Space Biology - Gene Expression and Molecular Signaling in Spaceflight Environments. A-L. Paul: Role P.I. , R.J. Ferl: Co-P.I. $297,500.00 NASA NNH08ZTT003N 6/1/2009 – 5/30/2012
UF Research Opportunity Incentive Seed Fund - Multi-Spectral Imaging of Biological Payloads: Targeting Science for Small Satellites and Landers. R.J. Ferl, A-L. Paulrole: Co-P.I., N. Fitz-Coy, S. Eikenberry. $85,674.00 5/1/2009 – 4/30/2011
NASA MMAMA - Molecular Genetic Telemetry – Leveraging Shuttle/ISS science, hardware and operations to enable in situ biology analyses in planetary analog environments.. R. J. Ferl: P.I. and A-L. Paul: Role Co-P.I. $61,500.00 09/01/2009 – 08/31/2011
NASA BRIC - The impact of spaceflight on Arabidopsis: Deep sequencing and DNA arrays as collaborative readouts of the transcriptome of Arabidopsis seedlings and undifferentiated cells in space. A-L. Paul and R.J. Ferl: Role P.I. $146,833 4/1/2010 – 5/31/2011
Pending Extramural Funding:
NSF – The Regulation of Primary Metabolism in Plants by 14-3-3s. R.J. Ferl and A-L. Paul role: Co-P.I., $ 542,557 08/15/2010 – 08/14/2013
Guest Lectures in University of Florida courses:
Biophysics (Physics) – Chromatin structure, genome and gene promoter organization
Biochemical Genetics (Hort Sciences) – Chromatin, genome and gene promoter organization
Plant Molecular Biology (Hort Sciences) – Chromatin, genome and gene promoter organization
Seeds of Change (Agronomy) – Molecular aspects of plant stress genes associated with spaceflight.
Space Life Sciences Training Program lectures (Kennedy Space Center, summers of 2000-2004) – various topics in molecular aspects of plant stress genes associated with spaceflight
Space Biology (Hortsciences – HOS4905 / PCB6937) a course that explores topics in space biolgy ranging from the Apollo ear through the ptesent. Team taught with Robert Ferl.