Simon Gilroy is Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The main focus of his research is plant signal transduction with an emphasis on the development and application of advanced imaging approaches for the visualization of cellular signaling processes. He has applied these techniques to answer questions ranging from the definition of regulatory cascades during seed germination to the investigation of cellular networks controlling responses to mechanical stress and gravisensing. He has worked on the editorial board of several journals, including The Plant Journal and Plant Methods, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Plant Cell Biology. He served on the Steering Committee in addition to the Plant Biology Subcommittee of the 2011 NASA Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space from the National Academies. Simon has served the American Society of Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR, formerly ASGSB) as a member of the 2005-2007 Governing Board and in 1998 he was honored by the society with the Thora Halstead Young Investigator Award. Currently Simon is serving as Past President of the society. Simon is currently Principal Investigator of NASA grants BRIC-17, BRIC-19/GeneLAB, and APEX-05.
Won-Gyu Choi is a postdoc in the Gilroy Lab and the lead scientist (Co-Investigator) for both the BRIC and APEX-05 experiments. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biotechnology from the Woosuk University in South Korea. He worked at a postdoc at UT-Knoxville prior to joining the Gilroy Lab at UW-Madison in 2009. His main research area is studying the responses of plants to abiotic stress, including flooding, anoxia, and tropisms. Won-Gyu has two children, Alicia and Alex. When 6 year-old Alex learned that his dad would be sending an experiment to the space station, he was inspired to create a sketch of the Gilroy Lab team complete with Space X’s Dragon/F9 spacecraft in flight!
Sarah Swanson is a postdoc in the Gilroy Lab and Co-Investigator for the BRIC-19/GeneLAB, and APEX-05 research projects to study plant growth in microgravity on the International Space Station. She received her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley following her B.S. in Botany and Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Sarah worked as a postdoc at Penn State University before returning to UW-Madison. Currently she splits her time between running the Newcomb Imaging Center microscopy facility in the Department of Botany and working in the Gilroy Lab where she studies plant cell signal transduction following hormonal or mechanical stimuli.
Richard Barker is a postdoc who joined the Gilroy Lab in 2014 and is helping with BRIC-19/GeneLAB data analysis. He worked on his Ph.D. at Rothamsted Research in the U.K. studying plant hormones and environmental stimuli. He then worked as a postdoc in the Masson lab in the Genetics Department at the University of Wiscosnin-Madison prior to joining the Gilroy Lab. Richard practices capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) and in what seems like an amazingly appropriate coincidence for someone now working with rockets and spacflight, before becoming a scientist, he started out his professional life as a fire juggling performer at festivals in England.
Sandy Swanson is a professional photographer, classically trained french hornist, and hand model. Sandy will be assisting with outreach efforts for both the BRIC-19 and APEX-05 projects. Keep an eye out on this blog for her photographs and insights from a non-scientist’s point-of-view.