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Author Spotlight

Philip Benfey
Current Affiliation: Paul Kramer Professor and Director, Duke Center for Systems Biology; HHMI Investigator
Research Area: Systems Biology, Transcriptional Networks, Developmental Biology, Cell Identity, Arabidopsis thaliana

“I've always seen myself as an ‘accidental scientist’ as I actually set out to be a writer. I dropped out of college, traveled around the world for 6 years, then decided to study Biology when I went back to school in Paris. From the beginning of my studies, my interest focused on questions of developmental biology. I now work on plant roots because their organization and morphogenesis simplify analysis from a developmental perspective.”

Philip Benfey graduated from the University of Paris and received his PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University under the guidance of Dr. Philip Leder. He did post-doctoral research at Rockefeller University in the field of Plant Molecular Biology working with Dr. Nam-Hai Chua and was appointed an assistant professor there in 1990. In 1991 he moved to New York University where he became an associate professor in 1996 and full professor in 2001. He was the founding director of the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics at NYU. In 2002 he was named professor and chair of the Biology department at Duke University and in 2003 was named a distinguished professor.

Benfey is the recipient of a Helen Hay Whitney post-doctoral fellowship and an NSF pre-doctoral fellowship. He was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. In 2011, Benfey was named an HHMI-GBMF Investigator by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordan and Betty Moore Foundation under an initiative to support fundamental plant science research. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Science, Developmental Cell, and BMC Plant Biology. His research focuses on plant developmental genetics and systems biology. In 2007 he formed a start-up company, GrassRoots Biotechnology, which uses systems biology approaches to develop new crop traits for the bioenergy, food, and industrial markets.

Articles by Philip Benfey

Arabidopsis thaliana as a model organism in systems biology
Focus Article
WIREs Systems Biology and Medicine
Published Online: Nov 13 2009
DOI: 10.1002/wsbm.25
Abstract Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML | PDF
Patterning the primary root in Arabidopsis
Advanced Review
WIREs Developmental Biology
Published Online: Mar 22 2012
DOI: 10.1002/wdev.49
Abstract Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML | PDF

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