Jeff Dangl is currently John N. Couch Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as an HHMI investigator.
Dangl earned his BAS in Biological Sciences and English (Modern Literature), MS in Biological Sciences, and Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University. As a graduate student at Stanford, Dangl studied antibody structure-function correlates of chimeric monoclonal antibodies in mice, earning his degree in genetics and immunology. Those fields fueled his scientific curiosity when he moved to the Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany, on a National Science Foundation postdoctoral program aimed at attracting scientists trained outside the field of plant molecular biology to move into it. During nine years in Germany, including six as a group leader at the Max Delbrück Laboratory, he developed Arabidopsis into a model for studying plant–pathogen defense.
In 1995, Dangl moved his lab to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his research has revealed key elements of the multi-tiered plant immune system. He has become a recognized leader in the community of scientists studying plant–microbe interactions and an enthusiastic advocate for plant research. Dangl has recently expanded his research to examine how a plant and its genes influence, and are influenced by, the complete community of microbes—beneficial, pathogenic, and everything in between—that live in association with its roots.
The Dangl Lab is focused on three main topic areas that aim to answer the following long-term questions:
- What is the mechanism of intracellular NLR-receptor activation and how do these proteins function to anchor the plant immune system?
- What is the diversity of pathogen virulence factors (effectors), and how does effector diversity collapse onto limited, key host targets?
- How does the plant communicate with growth promoting microbes and differentiate these from pathogens in complex plant-associated microbial communities?