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

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: 3597-3602


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.

SS Myers, A Zanobetti, I Kloog, P Huybers, ADB Leakey, A Bloom, E Carlisle, LH Dietterich, G Fitzgerald, T Hasegawa, NM Holbrook, RL Nelson, MJ Ottman, V Raboy, H Sakai, KA Sartor, J Schwartz, S Seneweera, M Tausz, Y Usui (2014) Rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 threatens human nutrition. Nature. 510:139-143


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