Tom Juenger is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Center for Computation Biology and Bioinformatics.
Tom received a B.S. in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Before heading to graduate school, he worked as a botanist for the Illinois Natural History Survey, for The Nature Conservancy Colorado Field Office, and on a variety of field research related projects including studies of tropical fruit bats and bird behavioral ecology.
In 1994, Tom started graduate school at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where he worked with Joy Bergelson. His dissertation focused on the ecology and evolution of species interactions in natural scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) populations. This work included a mixture of natural history observations, field manipulations, and quantitative genetic analyses. Near the end of graduate school, Tom began working with Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system for studying evolutionary quantitative genetics. In 1999, Tom obtained his Ph.D from UC and received a Miller Institute Postdoctoral fellowship. As a Miller Fellow at UC-Berkeley, Tom worked with Ellen Simms on a variety of questions including studies of the genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity, the quantitative genetics of physiological traits and stress responses, and ecological studies of interactions between plants and nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Tom began an appointment at the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Evolutionary Biology. Tom’s research explores topics in the ecological and evolutionary genetics of natural populations. He is generally interested in phenotypic evolution. A current focus of the lab is the identification and characterization of genes underlying variation in drought adaptation among Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes collected from around the world. In addition, he has long-standing interests in the ecology and evolution of plant-animal interactions, including projects focused on pollination biology and herbivory in natural scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) populations.
Most recently, the Juenger lab has started a number of project exploring physiological genomics and evolution in C3 (Brachypodium) and C4 (Panicum) grasses.