Skip to main content
Jennifer Hawkins
Department of Biology

Hawkins Lab @ West Virginia University 

Global climate change is creating adverse environmental conditions that negatively impact plant growth and development. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a complete understanding of the mechanisms that allow plants to tolerate stressful environments, particularly for important agronomic crop species.  Our current research is focused on 1) determining the genetic and physiological controls of plant growth and development in optimal conditions, and 2) understanding how those controls shift in adverse conditions.  We use genetic and genomic approaches combined with physiology and imaging to discover the factors that confer abiotic stress tolerance in Sorghum. We are more generally interested in mechanisms of molecular evolution that contribute to divergence and speciation in plants.

Please read more about our projects on the Research  page. We hope you like what you find! Questions are always welcome and should be addressed to:

Recent News

*06/13/22 - Congratulations to Farren Smith on successfully defending her Master's thesis entitled "Getting to the root cause: the genetic underpinnings of root system architecture and rhizodeposition in Sorghum".

*05/26/2022 - Check out Melissa Lehrer's new preprint! Repeated and Prolonged Drought Exposure Reveals Contrasting Hydraulic Management Strategies Used by Tolerant and Sensitive Genotypes of Sorghum bicolor

*04/08/2022 - Congratulation to Melissa Lehrer on successfully defending her dissertation! 

*09/22/2021 - Congratulations to Jasmine Freeman on passing her proposal defense!

*Our new paper is out! Check out the work lead by Dr. Ashley Hostetler on QTL mapping of salt response loci: QTL mapping in an interspecific sorghum population uncovers candidate regulators of salinity tolerancePlant Stress. 2:100024.

*Welcome to Peyton Byrd. Peyton will be conducting research this summer on using imaging to measure plant growth rates during salt stress. Read more about that on our  Tolerance to salinity stress page.

*Congratulations to Emmy Braun on being awarded a spot in the WVU Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program!

*Congratulations to Melissa Lehrer on receiving the David Blaydes Biology Dissertation Scholarship.

*Congratulation to Melissa Lehrer on receiving the Disciplinary Breadth Award from the Maize Genetics Conference.

*Our new paper on the genetic controls of tillering is out in G3.  Check it out on!