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1300 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02130


Ian McCahill

I’m interested in the molecular systems that allow plants to perceive environmental conditions and adjust their growth and development accordingly. I am a postdoc in the Des Marais group at MIT, where I study the effects of carbon dioxide on grass development. Under increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, photosynthesis becomes more efficient, a phenomenon known as the CO2 fertilization effect. However, different species “spend” these “extra” resources differently, creating an exciting opportunity to examine the genetic basis of different patterns of carbon allocation. I grew up in the Boston area, but did my undergraduate studies at Reed College in Portland, OR, where I fell in love with plants of all kinds. I came back to Massachusetts to do my PhD with Dr. Samuel Hazen at UMass, Amherst, where I studied the transcriptional regulation secondary cell wall biosynthesis and the way grass roots use mechano-perception and cell wall thickening to maintain plant anchorage.


PhD, Plant Biology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
BA, Biology
Reed College