Featured Profile: John C. Walker
Dr. John C. Walker has earned an international reputation for his research on plant growth and development.
Walker established a new understanding of how plants respond to developmental and environmental cues such as drought or plant stress. He is renowned among plant scientists for his pioneering discovery of a new protein receptor, called a kinase. Receptors are vital molecules that initiate a cascade of cellular processes controlling a plant’s biological responses. Walker demonstrated that plants contain an unexpectedly large number of receptor kinases.
In subsequent studies, Walker identified a co-receptor central to hormonal signaling and innate immunity and contributed to findings that receptor signaling is vital for plant architecture including shedding floral organs. His body of research helped launch, and continues to define, the field of receptor protein kinases in plants.
Walker has held numerous leadership roles at the University of Missouri including director of the Gehrke Proteomics Center, associate scientific director of the Bond Life Sciences Center and director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG). Currently, he is Director of the Division of Biological Sciences and project director for Missouri EPSCoR, a statewide research program that stimulates Missouri’s capacity in science, technology and engineering.
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