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Assistant Professor

P.O. Box 3468
110 University Ct.

Monticello, AR 71656


Phone: 870.460.1348

Fax: 870.460.1092



B.S. Biological Sciences, University of Maryland (UMBC; 1996)
M.S. Horticulture, University of Maryland College Park (2000)
Ph.D. Biology, Tufts University (2006)



Forest Ecology and Tree Ecophysiology


My primary research goal is to understand how a plant functions as an integrated organism, and the mechanisms that determine the development of vastly different forms and functions of diverse species suited to specific environmental niches. Several specific areas of interest include mechanisms of vascular transport, regulation of whole-plant carbon and nutrient allocation, plant defense responses to herbivory, and biosynthesis of defensive biochemicals. This type of knowledge provides a scientific basis for tree improvement, forest tree protection and management, and conservation.


Mechanisms governing nutrient allocation and nutrient use efficiency in plants
Effects of stress, management regime, and/or genotype on tree cellulose quality, in relation to nanocellulosic products
Impacts of insufficient and excessive soil moisture regimes in bottomland hardwood trees
Potential resistance mechanisms of ash trees to emerald ash borer, and impacts of ash mortality on forest communities


• Karve, A., Alexoff, D., Kim, D., Schueller, M., Ferrieri, R., Babst, B. (in press) In vivo quantitative imaging of photoassimilate transport dynamics and allocation in large plants using a commercial positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. BMC Plant Biology.

• Mason, M.G., Ross, J.J. Babst, B.B., Wienclaw, B. and Beveridge, C.A. (2014) Sugar Demand, Not Auxin, Is the Initial Regulator of Apical Dominance. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111: 6092-6097.

• Babst, B.A., Chen, H.-Y., Wang, H.-Q., Payyavula, R.S., Thomas, T.P., Harding, S.A. and Tsai, C.-J. (2014) Stress-responsive hydroxycinnamate glycosyltransferase modulates phenylpropanoid metabolism in Populus. Journal of Experimental Botany. 65: 4191-4200.

• Robert, C., Ferrieri, R.A., Schirmer, S., Babst, B.A., Schueller, M., Machado, R., Arce, C., Hibbard, B., Gershenzon, J., Turlings, T., Erb, M. (2014) Induced carbon reallocation and compensatory growth as root herbivore tolerance mechanisms. Plant Cell Environ. 37: 2613-2622.

• Babst, B.A., Karve, A.A. and Judt, T. (2013) Radio-metabolite analysis of carbon-11 biochemical partitioning to nonstructural carbohydrates for integrated metabolism and transport studies. Plant and Cell Physiol. 54: 1016-1025.

• Robert, C. A. M., Veyrat, N., Glauser, G., Marti, G., Doyen, G., Villard, N., Gaillard, M. D. P., Köllner, T. G., Giron, D. Body, M., Babst, B. A., Ferrieri, R., Turlings, T. C. J., Erb, M. (2012) A specialist root herbivore exploits defensive metabolites to locate nutritious tissues. Ecol. Letters. 15: 55-64.

Babst, B. A., Harding, S., Tsai, C. J. (2010) Biosynthesis of phenolic glycosides from phenylpropanoid and benzenoid precursors in Populus. J. Chem. Ecol. 36:286-297.

Babst, B. A., Sjödin, A., Orians, C. M., Jansson, S. (2009) Local and systemic transcriptome responses to herbivory and jasmonic acid in Populus. Tree Genet. Genomes 5: 459-474.

Babst, B. A., Ferrieri, R. A., Thorpe, M. R. & Orians, C. M. (2008) Lymantria dispar herbivory induces rapid changes in carbon transport and partitioning in Populus nigra. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 128: 117-125.

Babst, B. A., Ferrieri, R. A., Gray, D. W., Lerdau, M., Schlyer, D. J., Schueller, M., Thorpe, M. R. & Orians, C. M. (2005) Jasmonic acid induces rapid changes in carbon transport and partitioning in Populus.  New Phytol. 167: 63-72.

Orians, C. M., Babst, B. A. & Zanne, A. E. (2005) Vascular constraints and long-distance transport in dicots. In Vascular Transport in Plants. (eds. Holbrook, N. M. & Zwieniecki,      M.) Elsevier-Academic Press, Amsterdam. pp. 355-371.

Orians, C. M., van Vuuren, M. M. I., Harris, N., Babst, B. A., & Ellmore, G. (2004) Differential sectoriality in long distance transport in temperate tree species: Evidence from dye flow, 15N transport and vessel element pitting. Trees-Struct. Funct. 18(5): 501-509.

Professional Societies & Associations:

American Society of Plant Biologists
International Populus Genome Consortium
Arkansas Forestry Association

Professional Services:

•Co-organizer for session, “Isotopes in Plant Biology: Future Sustainability in Energy and Agriculture,” for the 8th International Conference on Isotopes and Expo August 2014

•Co-organizer for session, “Synchrotronbased Probes for Studying the Interactions between Living Systems and the Environment, for the 2014 NSLS/NSLS-II & CFN Joint Users' Meeting

•Mentor BNL Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program

•Reviewer: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE)

•Reviewer: Planta, Molecular Plant, Journal of Experimental Botany, Tree Physiology, Phytochemical Analysis, Oecologia, Journal of Chemical Ecology

•President (2002-2003) Biology Union of Graduate Students (BUGS), Tufts University

•Poster Judge (2002) International Poplar Symposium III in Uppsala, Sweden

•Student Aide (2002) American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston

•Organizer (2001-2002) Grad Student Invited Speaker Committee, Tufts Biology Dept.

•Assessor (1998 and 1999) Biotechnology Risk Assessment, University of Maryland


• (2014-2015) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Laboratory Directed Research and Development, “Increasing efficiency of nitrogen use by plants: a prerequisite for bioenergy crops on marginal lands,” Brookhaven National Laboratory (PI).

• (2012-2015) DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research SFA, “Radiotracer Chemistry, Instrumentation and Biological Imaging,” Brookhaven National Laboratory (coPI).

• (2011-2013) USDA-DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy, “Functional genomics of sugar content in sweet sorghum stems,” Brookhaven National Laboratory (coPI).

• (2004-2005) National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. “Does Herbivory Signal Plants to Increase Nitrogen Uptake and Bolster Nitrogen and Starch Storage?”

• (2005) Tufts Institute of the Environment: research funding. “Using Jasmonates to Enhance Long-Term Sequestration of Atmospheric Carbon.”

• (2003) Grants-in-Aid Award - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. “The Dynamic Nature of Plant Tolerance to Herbivory: A Newly Discovered Phenomenon and a Possible Mechanism.”

Postdoctoral Associates:

Dr. Fei Gao (current) Mechanisms governing nutrient allocation and nutrient use efficiency in plants

Graduate Student Research:

Alex Hoffman (current M.S.) Morphological and physiological responses of hardwood reproduction across artificial and natural light gradients

Previous Undergraduate Student Research Mentoring:

Michael McAteer (St. Joseph’s College)

John Desmond (U. Maryland)

Emily Singer (Skidmore College)

Martin Epps, Jr. (Benedict College, Columbia SC)

Julia Petrullo (State University of New York at Buffalo, now at University of Delaware)

Brittany Wienclaw (University of New Haven)

Emma Kast (Hofstra University, now at Princeton University)

Andrew Sung (Stony Brook University)

Anthony Sementilli (St. Joseph’s College)

Katherine Sanidad (Stony Brook U.)

Yigit Gol (Stony Brook U.)

Douglas Kenny (U. Del., now at Harvard University)

Keryn Bromberg (Tufts U., now faculty at University of Maryland)

UA Division of Agriculture  -  Agricultural Experiment Station  -  Cooperative Extension Service  -  School of Forest Resources  -  UA-Monticello

Arkansas Forest Resources Center, P.O. Box 3468, 110 University Ct., Monticello, AR 71656
870.460.1052  -