- PhD, Nuclear & Radiochemistry, Texas A&M University
Rich Ferrieri earned his PhD degree in Nuclear & Radiochemistry from Texas A&M University in 1979, and then became a postdoctoral fellow under Alfred Wolf at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). He was later hired onto the scientific staff at BNL working on the medical applications of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for animal and human research. In 2002, he shifted his interest away from medical research, and into plant biology leveraging many of the same imaging and radiochemistry tools to study basic plant functions. He is credited with developing the first radiolabeled PET plant hormone (11C-jasmonic acid) to study its transport in live plants, as well as with developing a unique set of dynamic diagnostic tools for unraveling the physiological and metabolic responses of plants to environmental stress. After 38 years of service as a tenured senior scientist at BNL, he moved his program to the University of Missouri (MU) where in 2016 he built a new integrative program at the Missouri Research Reactor Center (MURR) in plant imaging and metabolic flux analysis using a variety of radioactive isotopes. As a professor at MU, his academic home is the Department of Chemistry, but he also holds faculty appointments in the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group where he is a member of the executive committee and was appointed as adjunct professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology.