Mary Lou Guerinot


Mary Lou Guerinot is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at Cornell University in 1975 and her Ph.D. in biology from Dalhousie University in 1979.  After completing postdoctoral studies at the University of Maryland and at the DOE–MSU Plant Research Laboratory, she came to Dartmouth as an assistant professor in 1985.  She was promoted to an associate professor with tenure in 1991 and to full professor in 1997.  She was chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from 1994 to 1998, served as the associate dean of the Faculty for the Sciences from 1998 to 2001 and as Vice Provost from 2001 to 2004.

Guerinot is a molecular geneticist whose principal expertise and research interests are in the area of metal transport and regulation of gene expression by metals.  For most of the world, plants are the major point of entry for essential metals into the food chain, so her work is laying the foundation for crops that offer sustainable solutions for malnutrition.  In particular, she has been systematically dissecting how iron gets from the “soil to the seed” and has identified many key genes, including one encoding an iron reductase thought to catalyze the rate-limiting step in iron acquisition and another encoding a transporter essential for iron uptake from the soil.  As the transporter was the founding member of a large family of proteins that occur in organisms at all phylogenetic levels, Guerinot’s work has had impact far beyond plant biology.  Her investigations are providing an integrated picture of the genes involved in a fundamental feature of all living systems – the selective accumulation of essential minerals.  Her work also has applications for environmental remediation with the goal of using metal-accumulating plants to remove toxic metals from the soil.  In addition to her work on the model plant Arabidopsis, Guerinot studies aspects of metal transport and regulation in the Bradyrhizobium/soybean symbiosis.

Guerinot has published over 70 articles and her work is funded by major grants from the National Science Foundation.  In her lab at Dartmouth she has trained 11 Ph.D. students and over 60 undergraduates, 25 of whom have completed honors theses with her.  Guerinot has taught genetics and microbiology lecture and lab courses, as well as upper-level and graduate courses in molecular genetics and biochemistry.  She has served on numerous competitive grant panels including the USDA Nitrogen Fixation panel, the NSF Integrative Plant Biology panel, the NIH Biomedical Research and Research Training Grant Committee, and the Deutsche Fortschungsgemeinschaft Arabidopsis Proteome Network peer review panel.  She is currently serving as a member of the Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences at NSF.  She has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology and is an associate editor of Plant Molecular Biology.  She has served on the selection committee for the American Society for Microbiology’s Undergraduate Fellowship Program for the past ten years and is a member of the selection committee for the Martin Gibbs Medal for ASPB.  She has been a member and co-chair of the North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee, as well as a member and chair of the Multi-National Arabidopsis Steering Committee.  She has also served as a member of the Arabidopsis Biological Resources Center Advisory Board and is on the Board of Directors for TAIR (The Arabidopsis Information Resource).  She is currently Past President of the American Society of Plant Biologists, a 6000-member organization that promotes the growth and development of plant biology as well as publishes research in plant biology.

For Dr. Guerinot’s resume, click here.