Blake Meyers



Curators' Distinguished Professor

Division of Plant Science and Technology

Research at a glance

Area(s) of Expertise

The primary emphasis of the Meyers lab is the analysis of small RNAs in plants. With our many collaborators, we have pioneered genomic analysis of small RNAs and their targets, including experimental and computational approaches. We have applied these methods to study plant genomes and their RNA products, and the lab continues to develop and apply novel informatics approaches for the analysis of RNA function in plants.

Specific areas of research include small RNA function and evolution, with focused studies in Arabidopsis, maize, soybean, rice, and a wide variety of other species. We are currently characterizing diverse small RNAs, microRNA targets, and non-coding RNAs to determine patterns of gene expression under different developmental conditions. Our recent work focuses on phased siRNAs in plants, including their function, evolution, and biogenesis. We have also created several databases with query & analysis tools to enable the use of these data for the scientific community.

We are also interested in disease resistance genes in plants. The Nucleotide Binding Site-Leucine Rich Repeat (NB-LRR) proteins encoded by many resistance genes provide the first line of defense in many specific plant-pathogen interactions. Approximately 150 of these proteins are encoded in the Arabidopsis Col-0 genome; with variable numbers ranging up to hundreds per plant genome in other species. We study sequence variation, function, and evolution in this class of genes. Connecting two of our long-standing interests, we were the first to describe microRNAs as “master regulators” via direct and indirect targeting (phasiRNAs) of this gene family, and we continue to study the evolution and function of these microRNAs, and their target genes, the NB-LRRs.

Educational background

  • Ph.D., Genetics, University of California, Davis
  • M.S., Genetics, University of California, Davis
  • B.A., Biology, University of Chicago