Dr. David Siemens, associate professor of biology and founding director of the new integrative genomics graduate program at Black Hills State University, recently published two articles and received a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

The first article, “Ontogenetic Switches from Resistance to Tolerance: Minimizing Costs with Age?” found a switch in defenses against herbivores as plants develop.  Siemens worked to develop the research, which was published in Ecology Letters, with colleagues from Stanford and Trinity Universities.  The study is part of an “interdisciplinary area between evolutionary ecology and developmental biology that is one of the hottest areas in science right now,” said Siemens.

Siemens’ second article, “Evolution of Drought Tolerance and Defense: Dependence of Tradeoffs on Mechanism, Environment, and Defense Switching,” investigated the simultaneous evolution of drought tolerance and defenses in plants.  Siemens worked with BHSU students and colleagues from Augustana College, University of Wisconsin, and Trinity University.  Siemens and his associates are continuing to work towards identifying genes to further this study.

Siemens’ work is mainly conducted at field sites in the Black Hills and the Ecological Genomics Laboratory on the BHSU campus.

He was also the main author of a $598,000 integrative genomics scholarship grant that BHSU recently received from the National Science Foundation.  The grant will go towards supporting graduate and undergraduate students in underrepresented groups in science. 

Siemens received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Northern Arizona University.  He has been a member of BHSU faculty since 2002.

For more information, contact Siemens at 642-6322 or DavidSiemens@bhsu.edu.