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David L. Des Marais

David L. Des Marais


  • BA, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley, 2000
  • PhD, Biology, Duke University, 2008

Research Interests

The primary focus of research in the Des Marais Lab is to understand the mechanisms of plant-environment interaction. We use tools from molecular, quantitative, and population genetics to identify the physiological basis of plant response to environmental cues, and ask how these mechanisms constrain or facilitate plant breeding and evolutionary change.

Awards and Honors

  • Walter Fitch Prize, Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
  • Maseeh Award for Teaching Excellence (2022)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2023)
  • Ole Madsen Mentoring Award (2023)

Selected Publications

  1. Cai, H. and D. L. Des Marais (2023). “Revisiting regulatory coherence: accounting for temporal bias in plant gene co‐expression analyses.” New Phytologist.
  1. Sancho, R., P. Catalán, B. Contreras‐Moreira, T. E. Juenger and D. L. Des Marais (2022). “Patterns of pan‐genome occupancy and gene coexpression under water‐deficit in Brachypodium distachyon.” Molecular Ecology 31(20): 5285-5306.
  1. Monroe, J. G., H. Cai and D. L. Des Marais (2021). “Diversity in non-linear responses to soil moisture shapes evolutionary constraints in Brachypodium.” G3 11(12): jkab334.
  2. Lundgren, M. R. and D. L. Des Marais (2020). “Life history variation as a model for understanding trade-offs in plant-environment interactions.” Current Biology 30(4): R180-R189.
  3. Des Marais, D. L., J. R. Lasky, R. Guerrero, and S. V. Scarpino. 2017. Topological features of a gene co-expression network predicts patterns of natural diversity in environmental response. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20170914.
  4. Campitelli, B. E., D. L. Des Marais, and T. E. Juenger. 2016. Ecological interactions and the fitness effects of water-use efficiency: Competition and drought alter the impact of natural MPK12 alleles in Arabidopsis. Ecology Letters 19: 424-434.
  5. Des Marais, D. L., L. C. Auchincloss, E. Sukamtoh, J. K. McKay, T. Logan, J. H. Richards, and T. E. Juenger. 2014. Variation in MPK12 affects water use efficiency in Arabidopsis and reveals a pleiotropic link between guard cell size and ABA response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 111: 2836-2841.
  6. Des Marais, D. L., K. Hernandez and T. E. Juenger. 2013. Genotype-by-environment interaction and plasticity: exploring genomic responses of plants to the abiotic environment. Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 44: 5-29.
  7. Des Marais, D. L., J. K. McKay, J. H. Richards, S. Sen, T. Wayne and T. E. Juenger. 2012. Physiological genomics of response to soil drying in diverse Arabidopsis accessions. The Plant Cell 24: 893-914.