Andrew Leakey


Associate Professor of Plant Biology
Institute for Genomic Biology
1402 Institute for Genomic Biology  MC-116
(217) 244-0302


B.Sc. 1998, University of Sheffield
Ph.D. 2003, University of Sheffield
Fulbright Scholar 2002-2003, UIUC
Postdoc. 2003-2004, University of Illinois
Research Fellow 2004-2007, Institute for Genomic Biology


IB107, Global Warming, Biofuels and Food

IB 440, Plants and Global Change


Integrative plant genomics, physiology and ecology

My research program is focused on improving mechanistic understanding of:

  1. Plant responses in natural and agricultural ecosystems to global environmental change
  2. Adaptation of food and fuel crops to global environmental change
  3. Sustainability of biofuel feedstocks

This will enhance understanding of how the environment impacts ecosystem goods and services including biodiversity, productivity, water cycling and food supply. To do this we combine molecular, biochemical, physiological and ecological tools to assess plant performance in manipulative field experiments and controlled environment chambers.


On-going projects:

  1. A systems-level analysis of drought and density response in the model C4 grass Setaria viridis
  2. EBI 2011: Sustainability of woody biofuel feedstocks
  3. Plants iView an after school program in plant biology
  4. Altered Root-To-Shoot Signaling And Osmotic Adjustment As Key Determinants Of Soybean Stress Tolerance Under Drought And Elevated [CO2]
  5. Agroecosystems: Effects of changes in climate, carbon dioxide and ozone over the Central United States
  6. How will productivity, evapotranspiration & insect herbivory of the Midwest agroecosystem respond to the combined drought and elevated [CO2] anticipated for 2050?


Selected Publications

SB Gray, RS Strellner, KK Puthuval, R Shulman, MH Siebers, A Rogers, ADB Leakey (in press) Minirhizotron imaging reveals nodulation of field-grown soybean is enhanced by Free-Air CO2 Enrichment only when combined with drought stress. Functional Plant Biology  

ADB Leakey, KA Bishop, EA Ainsworth (2012) A multi-biome gap in understanding of crop and ecosystem responses to elevated CO2. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 15: 228-236.

KM Gillespie, F Xu, KT Richter, JM McGrath, RJC Markelz, DR Ort, ADB Leakey, EA Ainsworth (2012) Greater antioxidant and respiratory metabolism in field-grown soybean exposed to elevated O3 under both ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations. Plant, Cell & Environment 35: 169-184.

ADB Leakey, JA Lau (2012) Evolutionary context for understanding and manipulating plant responses to past, present and future atmospheric [CO2]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367: 613-629.

RJC Markelz, RS Strellner, ADB Leakey (2011) Impairment of C4 photosynthesis by drought is exacerbated by limiting nitrogen and ameliorated by elevated [CO2] in maize. Journal of Experimental Botany 62:3235-3246.

EJ Edwards, CP Osborne, CAE Stromberg, SA Smith, WJ Bond, PA Christin, AB Cousins, MR Duvall, DL Fox, RP Freckleton, O Ghannoum, J Hartwell, Y Huang, CM Janis, JE Keeley, EA Kellogg, AK Knapp, ADB Leakey, DM Nelson, BH Passey, JM Saarela, RF Sage, OE Sala, N Salamin, CJ Still, B Tipple (2010) The Origins of C4 Grasslands: Integrating Evolutionary and Ecosystem Science. Science 328: 587-591


ADB Leakey, F-Xu, K Gillespie, J McGrath, EA Ainsworth, DR Ort (2009) Genomic basis for stimulated respiration by plants growing under elevated carbon dioxide. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(9): 3597-3602

ADB Leakey, EA Ainsworth, SM Bernard, RJC Markelz, DR Ort, S Placella, A Rogers, MD Smith, E Sudderth, DJ Weston, SD Wullschleger, S Yuan (2009) Gene expression profiling – opening the black box of plant ecosystem responses to global change Global Change Biology 15(5): 1201-1213.

ADB Leakey (2009) Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and the future of C4 crops for food and fuel. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276: 2333-2343.

ADB Leakey, EA Ainsworth, CJ Bernacchi, A Rogers, SP Long & DR Ort (2009) Elevated CO2 effects on plant carbon, nitrogen and water relations: six important lessons from FACE. Journal of Experimental Botany 60(10): 2859-2876.

ADB Leakey, M Uribelarrea, EA Ainsworth, SL Naidu, A Rogers, DR Ort & SP Long (2006) Photosynthesis, productivity and yield of Zea mays are not affected by open-air elevation of CO2 concentration in the absence of drought. Plant Physiology 140:779-790.

SP Long, EA Ainsworth, ADB Leakey, J Nosberger & DR Ort (2006) Food for thought: Lower than expected crop yield stimulation with rising carbon dioxide concentrations. Science 312:1918-1921.