Dana MacGregor


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Rothamsted Research

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    Throughout a plant’s life cycle, it must sense and respond to the environmental cues it is receiving; I am interested in how this feat is accomplished. Rather than focus on a single developmental stage, I study the plant throughout its life cycle and across the generations. Although I observe the whole plant, it is what is happening at the molecular scale, the molecular genetics underneath everything, that I am really interested in understanding. My work has focused on environmentally-driven development of plant architecture during vegetative growth, the mechanisms underpinning how the plant deals with daily cycles of light and temperature, and on how environmental information is passed from one generation to the next. As a Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research, I am applying all of my acquired knowledge to the task of understanding the biology of weeds, starting with the challenge of understanding what it is about black-grass that makes it so good at surviving herbicide treatments.

  • Profile Question 1
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    When I was leaving high school for university, many people were surprised that I was going to major in Biology. Most people expected I was going to do music as that is what I was known for. I did pretty well in my science classes, but I wasn’t part of the Environment Team, or any form of STEM club, or anything like that. I just enjoyed Biology, Molecular Biology specifically, and plants, and I knew that I would never get tired of asking WHY? So I found a university at which I could study molecular biology and that had researchers working on plants, and away I went!

  • Profile Question 2
    What is tough about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    In most activities, the amount of energy that you put in is somehow related to the amount of output that results. For instance, if you study hard, you get good grades or if you train for a sport, you get good. In science, the results don’t always come even if you put all of your effort and hours into the experiment. This is the most challenging thing about being a scientist. On any given day, I can set up the faultless experiment using the ideal conditions with the most perfect samples, and get no answer at all. This may be because of a million different reasons; for instance because of technical problems or limitations, or just because the experiment that I set up, although perfect for one hypothesis, would not actually give me the answers that I needed to answer the original question. Therefore, to be a successful scientist you MUST be stubborn and keep trying, no matter how many times you get a blank page back from a lot of hard work.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    My favourite plants are Arabidopsis thaliana and black-grass, of course, but I have many favourite plants. For instance I love daylilies; they have beautiful, elaborately coloured, and fragrant blossoms that only last one day. Or, the resurrection plant, which can survive extreme dehydration and cold, even for several months. Or, the hydrangea, which changes the colour of its flowers depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil in which it is growing. Or, the sunflower, which grows so that the face of the flower tracks the movement of the sun. Or,…

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

Does Size Matter? Dana MacGregor

Well done "Does Size Matter?" Project team. I hope you guys enjoyed the sessions. Have fun with the rest of term! 

Does Size Matter? Dana MacGregor

Interesting and *testable* predictions! So... next time you could set up a pot that is three times as big with 15 seeds and see if it grows at the same rate as a small pot with five seeds! Or... you could give the pot with 15 seeds three times as…

Does Size Matter? Dana MacGregor

Very interesting result! Why do you think that might be? 

Skills & Endorsements

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