Alison’s scientific background is in biomedical sciences and bioinformatics. She initially studied biomedical sciences at the University of Durham, UK. Having become interested in the then new field of bioinformatics she did a MSc in information technology at Teesside University, UK. She went on to study at the University of Reading, UK completing a bioinformatics-based PhD on investigating the effects of mutations on the structure of p53, before working for a time in academia, including 8 years as the curator of the CATH protein classification database. After eventually deciding to pursue a career in scientific publishing, she joined BioMed Central in 2014, initially as a Database Editor for the ISRCTN clinical trial registry. Alison joined the BMC series as the Editor for BMC Plant Biology in 2016. Alison also writes on the BioMed Central blog network and is an Editor for the On Medicine blog.
Genetics and crop biotechnology
Dr Fabrizio Costa is a senior scientist at the Biology and Genomics of Fruit Crops Department of the Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (Italy). He obtained his MSc. in Plant Science and PhD in Fruit Crop Science at the University of Bologna. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Plant Research International of Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University (USA). The lab of Dr Costa is focused on the study of the genetic and molecular mechanism controlling the ripening of climacteric fruit. Main research interests include the discovery of the fundamental genes involved in the modification of important features for fruit quality, such as texture, aroma and ethylene, and the design of molecular markers to assist the selection of novel valuable ideotypes. Dr Costa joined the BMC Plant Biology editorial board in April 2012 as an Associate Editor then Section Editor from 16 February 2016.
I received my MS in Vegetable Crops in 1982 and my PhD in Plant Physiology in 1985 from the University of California, Davis. I started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Science in 1988 at the University of Nevada, Reno. I am currently employed as a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. My research career focused primarily on the mechanisms of salinity tolerance during the first two decades of my career. In the last two decades, I have changed my focus to abiotic stress tolerance (drought, salinity and cold) of grapes using a systems biology approach. I am actively working at the international level to develop cooperation amongst grape scientists and at the local level to establish a grape and wine industry in the dry desert climates of Nevada.
Genetics and crop biotechnology
Jean Finnegan is an Honorary Fellow at CSIRO, Agriculture and Food, and has been a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science since 2014. She isolated the first plant gene encoding a DNA methyltransferase (METI) and generated plants with reduced levels of DNA methylation using an antisense against METI. She and her colleagues determined the molecular basis for some of the abnormal phenotypes displayed by plants with reduced levels of methylation. She then turned her attention to understanding the molecular basis for the memory of winter in vernalized plants. Jean and her colleagues have made major contributions to understanding the mechanisms involved in the repression of FLC in vernalized plants and to the quantitative nature of the vernalization response. She is currently working on characterizing epialleles in wheat. Research interests include: Epigenetic regulation, control of flowering, imprinting and vernalization.
Chris Makaroff earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Michigan before joining Miami's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Chris has served as Chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and an Associate Dean before being named Dean of the College of Arts and Science in 2015. His research involves using multi-disciplinary approaches to understand the relationship of protein structure to biological function. His main research interests involve proteins involved in controlling sister chromatid cohesion and chromosome structure during meiosis. Research interests also include: mitosis and cell cycle regulation, male and female gametophyte development as well as embryo development. Chris joined the Editorial Board in 2012.