Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Faculty Profile
Zilinskas, Barbara
Barbara's Profile
Zilinskas, Barbara
Professor

Email
Website
Phone: 732-932-9711, ext. 232

Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1975

Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]

Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Turfgrass Improvement, Oxidative Stress in Plants.
Teaching Areas
Plant Physiology, Plant Molecular Biology, Photobiology, Biochemistry, Plant Metabolism.
Memberships and Professional Service
American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Society of Plant Biologists; International Society for Plant Molecular Biology; Kappa Delta Pi, National Honor Society in Education; Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society.
Grants, Honors, and Awards
Rutgers University's Scholar-Teacher Award, 2003; Alpha Zeta Professor of the Year, 2002; Cook College Leadership Award for Excellence in Teaching and Advising, 1999; Rutgers Award for Programmatic Excellence in Undergraduate Education, 1997; USDA National Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences, 1996; Honors: Who's Who of American Women; Who's Who in Science and Engineering; Grants: NSF Equipment Grant, 2003-04; High Technology Workforce Excellence Grant, 2000-2003; USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant, 1998-2001; NJ Department of Education, 1998-1999; EPA Grant, 1993-1998.
Academic Interests and Plans
There are two major areas of research that are currently being investigated in my laboratory. These include: 1) the molecular and physiological responses of plants to environmental stress, and 2) turfgrass improvement through genetic modification mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

With regard to the former research area, we have focused our attention on oxidative stress and the mechanisms found in plants to alleviate damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS). Reactive oxygen is produced as an inevitable byproduct of metabolism; its production is exacerbated under environmentally stressful conditions, such as exposure to drought, extreme temperatures, high light intensities and the atmospheric pollutant, ozone. ROS have been shown to be important in signal transduction, and therefore their presence in plant cells must be kept at an optimum balance. However, if the plantís capacity is insufficient to remove excess ROS effectively, i.e., before the ROS exert their negative effects on cellular components, then oxidative stress ensues. We have been studying the important role played by enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants in minimizing oxidative stress during environmental perturbations.

In the second area of research, we have developed an efficient and reliable system for turfgrass transformation mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. We are currently using this technology to genetically modify several turfgrass species by introducing genes that may provide increased tolerance to disease and environmental stress. We are cooperating with the Rutgers turfgrass breeding program and the turf industry in an effort to bring new stress-tolerant cultivars for commercial use.