Lab Members

Professor Simon Gilroy

Likes getting his hands dirty in the garden and making people laugh. Simon recently spend a year on sabbatical at the Kennedy Space Center. Simon regularly designs spaceflight experiments with NASA and loves sharing his passion for science with the general public with organization's including local National Public Radio (NPR), Science, National Geographic, the NewYork times, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and was recently interviewed for Japanese television.

Warning! His passion for science is infectious as is his laugh!

Dr. Sarah Swanson

Is awesome on every microscope (Electron, Confocal, Epifluorescence and even Fold Scope), keeps everything in the lab working to schedule and enjoys playing the flute in her spare time. She is the veteran of multiple spaceflight experiments including TOAST, TOAST2, and TOAST3 aka APEX05. She is currently planning future mission code named BLASTOFF, TICTOC and SPECTRUM.

She is the Director of the Newcomb Imaging Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Dr. Richard Barker

This space cadet love plants, genetics and bioinformatics almost as much as his dog's Simba and Savannah. He is the Co-chair of the NASA Plants Advanced Working Group (AWG) and a member of numerous other NASA GeneLab collaborative working groups.

He is the co-founder of The Collaborative Science Environment and .

Dr. Arko Bakshi

This blood thirsty MMA warrior is not afraid of anything! He loves demonstrating his bravery when samples return from the International Space Station &/or Kennedy Space Center. Arko's PhD was focused on the molecular response of Arabidopsis thaliana to ethylene signaling. When Arko is not in the labortory or dojo he can often be found on the stage performing in traditional Indian musical and cultural shows.

Dr. Jessica Fernandez

Jessica is so much more than the loving mother of a wonderful family but is also a keen molecular biologist with a passion for microscopy! After recently defending her thesis on plasmodesmata signaling during her PhD at the University of Tennessee, Dr Fernandez has decided to turn her attention towards calcium signaling using Arabidopsis and Tobacco as model organisms.

Dr. Sabrina Chin

Sabrina's passion for microscopy, flavonoid biochemistry and plant science has taken her on a journey of scientific exploration across three continents. Sabrina enjoying watching cats videos in her spare time. Currently she is using a combination of molecular, cellular and physiological analysis methods to assess plant sensitivity o gravity and stresses related to microgravity.

"Johnny" Sarah Johns

Johnny is a Ph.D. student in the lab who's research project will one day help ensure healthy astronauts land on Mars. When she isn't dreaming of space travel she's either practicing the art of genetic engineering or teaching fitness and Zumba at the UW-Madison Dance Studio.

Ariel Sorg

Ariel is a Ph.D. student in the lab who's currently battling with a plant killing robot. She hopes her research will enable us to understand how plants naturally defend them selves. When not trying to ensuring our civilization can continue to feed itself in the future Ariel can be found in the realms of Dungeons and Dragons.