Julia Bailey-Serres is Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology, at the University of California, Riverside. She currently holds the University of California MacArthur Foundation Chair. Bailey-Serres is known for her research on mechanisms of plant adaptive responses to environmental stresses. She is recognized for the in-depth dissection of the function of the SUBMERGENCE 1A gene, responsible for survival of rice plants under prolonged submergence as evidenced by its successful use in stabilizing rice grain yield in flood-prone regions of Asia. Her research has defined how plants sense and respond to deficiencies in oxygen and energy. She has pioneered technologies to uncover the activity of genes in specific cell types of multicellular organisms through the capture of ribosomes and the associated mRNAs. Her current research focuses on mechanisms of metabolic and developmental plasticity to water extremes and nutrient deficiencies in rice, wheat, and soybean provided by genes that have an impact in the field. The goal of these investigations is to provide molecular insight into genetic solutions that enhance global food security.
Bailey-Serres was born and raised in California, graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in biology and from the University of Edinburgh with a Ph.D. in botany. She began to work on flooding and gene regulation as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, an interest she has maintained as a faculty member of the University of California, Riverside since 1990. She has mentored over 20 postdoctoral researchers and 20 doctoral students. Bailey-Serres is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). She has served as Secretary for ASPB and as an associate editor for several journals.