Robert Sharp

Robert Sharp


Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Division of Plant Science and Technology

Research at a glance

Area(s) of Expertise

Research Summary

Robert (Bob) Sharp's research program focuses on the regulation of plant growth respones to drought, with an emphasis on root development in maize (corn).

Sharp is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri (MU). He received his BS and Ph.D. (with Bill Davies) degrees from Lancaster University in the UK, and after postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois-Urbana (with John Boyer) and the University of California-Davis (with Ted Hsiao and Wendy Silk), joined the faculty at MU in 1986. His research career has emphasized the physiology of plant adaptation to water deficits (drought), with a primary focus on mechanisms of root growth regulation in maize (corn). In May 2021 he served as Chair of the Organizing Committee for the 11th Symposium of the International Society of Root Research (ISRR11), which was hosted virtually at MU.

He served as Chair of the Department of Agronomy from 2000-2005 and as Interim Director of the newly-formed Division of Plant Sciences from 2005-2008. From 2011-2022, he served as Director of MU’s Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG;, which is a campus-wide research and education community involving over 50 research teams from multiple divisions/departments and colleges. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2007) and of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB, 2014). In 2019 he was appointed as a Curators’ Distinguished Professor, and in 2023 he received the Thomas Jefferson Award from the University of Missouri System.

Educational background

  • Ph.D., Lancaster University, UK

Courses taught

  • Plant Science 9415: Advanced Plant Physiology
  • Plant Science 8505: Plant Stress Biology (team taught)
  • Plant Science 4320/7320: Molecular Plant Physiology (team taught)