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Stanton Gelvin

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Department of Biological Sciences
College of Science
West Lafayette, IN 47907


Stanton B. Gelvin, professor of biological sciences, has been a Purdue University faculty member since 1981. 

Gelvin was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. He attended Columbia University and received his A.B. degree in Biology in 1970. He attended Yale University where he received his M.Phil. degree in 1973 from the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. After transferring to the University of California, San Diego, he was introduced to the study of plant molecular biology by his Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Stephen H. Howell. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from USCD in 1977, where he isolated and characterized the first non-ribosomal gene from plants, the chloroplast gene encoding the large subunit of the key photosynthetic enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase from the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Gelvin spent another year in Howell’s laboratory as a postdoctoral research fellow investigating unusual repetitive DNA structures in Chlamydomonas chloroplast DNA. 

Gelvin subsequently moved to the University of Washington, Seattle, where he worked as a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell fellow in the laboratories of Drs. Eugene W. Nester and Milton P. Gordon. It was in these laboratories that Gelvin was introduced to the Agrobacterium tumefaciens system, a system that he has continued to investigate for the past 25 years. 

Gelvin joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences as an Assistant Professor in 1981 and has investigated a number of aspects of the Agrobacterium-plant interaction. His early work involved an elucidation of transcriptional activating elements of several Agrobacterium T-DNA genes; this work culminated in the development of the “super-promoter”, a strong constitutive promoter that has been used by hundreds of academic and industrial scientists to express genes in transgenic plants. After several years investigating the molecular and genetic mechanisms of Agrobacterium virulence gene induction, Gelvin turned approximately 10 years ago to his current line of investigation, the identification and characterization of plant genes and proteins involved in Agrobacterium-mediated plant genetic transformation. Gelvin was promoted to Full Professor in 1991; he currently also is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, and at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. 

Early in his career at Purdue, Gelvin was selected as a NSF Presidential Young Investigator. He received the Purdue University Herbert Newby McCoy Award in 2004 (the award recognizes the person who has made the greatest contribution to science) and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2006. He holds 7 patents and has authored more than 100 publications, including editing a widely used laboratory techniques manual on plant molecular biology. He has been a frequent organizer of the national annual Crown Gall Conferences, and has organized numerous workshops and sessions at international meetings. He has served as associate editor for the journals Plant Molecular Biology and Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (MPMI), is a past Editor-in-Chief of MPMI, and is currently an Associate Editor for the journal Plant Methods. He has served on numerous USDA grant review panels and was panel director for the USDA IFAFS panel in 2000. Gelvin has been director of the interdisciplinary Purdue Genetics Program since 1999, and was instrumental in initiating and developing the new PULSe interdisciplinary life sciences graduate program. 

In his spare time, Gelvin enjoys playing clarinet with the Lafayette Citizens Band and the Lafayette Civic Theater musical productions, gardening with his wife and scientific colleague Dr. Lan-Ying Lee, and playing with his model electric trains.  

Expertise: Plant Genetic Transformation, Agrobacterium Biology, Plant Molecular Biology, Plant-Microbe Interactions




A.B., Columbia University, 1970 
M.Phil., Yale University, 1973 
Ph.D., University of California--San Diego, 1977


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