|Plant Molecular Physiology
Ag Sciences III 218
1955 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8384
Fax: (808) 956-3542
*D. Borthakur, PhD (Chair)-molecular genetics of rhizobia, plant-microbe interaction, biotechnology
*J. E. Bowen, PhD-mineral nutrition
*D. A. Christopher, PhD-plant biochemistry, chloroplast molecular biology, regulation of gene expression
*H. M. Harrington, PhD-biochemistry molecular biology of heat shock, signal transduction in plants
*J. I. Stiles, PhD-plant molecular biology, genetics, agricultural biotechnology
*H. Y. Yamamoto, PhD-plant biochemistry, photosynthesis
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
G. Goldstein, PhD-water relations, crops-vegetation environment interactions
J. Hu, PhD-plant virology
Q. Li, PhD-phytoremediation, environmental biotechnology
R. E. Paull, PhD-postharvest physiology and handling of tropical fruits, flowers, and vegetables
W. W. Su, PhD-plant cell culture, bioprocess engineering
C. S. Tang, PhD-natural products chemistry and biochemistry
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
H. Albert, PhD-plant molecular biology
M. M. Fitch, PhD-micropropagation and genetic transformation of papaya
F. C. Meinzer, PhD-plant physiology, water relations
P. H. Moore, PhD-sugar cane physiology
Degrees Offered: MS in botanical sciences (plant physiology), PhD in botanical sciences (plant physiology)
The Academic Program
The faculty of the Department of Plant Molecular Physiology (PMP) conducts research on the physiological, nutritional, biochemical, and molecular biological processes that underlie metabolism, growth, development, and biotechnology, especially as related to tropical plants. The department offers graduate education leading to the MS and PhD degrees in plant physiology as an option in the botanical sciences graduate field of study. The plant physiology option features an interdepartmental faculty and offers a challenging instructional curriculum that stresses the fundamentals of plant biology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and biotechnology.
The department's mission in basic research and an active, internationally recognized faculty combine to provide students with exciting graduate research opportunities. The degree programs are research-intensive. Students develop an in-depth understanding of contemporary research approaches and master state-of-the-art laboratory techniques and equipment. Many students are employed as research assistants and conduct research as part of ongoing faculty grant projects. Other alternative forms of support are also available to highly qualified candidates. Students who choose the plant physiology option are afforded the unique opportunity to participate in research at the forefront of plant physiology and to make significant contributions through scientific publications.
The department offers the MS Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis) and the PhD in the plant physiology option of botanical sciences (BTSC). Applications from prospective students must include GRE scores for verbal and quantitative aptitude. Foreign applicants must also submit TOEFL scores. The application deadline for fall admission is February 1 (January 15 for foreign applications). All applicants must have completed courses or equivalents in calculus, physics, chemistry through organic and quantitative analysis, basic biology or botany, genetics, biochemistry, and plant physiology and one upper division course in either botanical sciences or in cellular or molecular biology. While not a requirement, physical chemistry is also highly recommended.
Admission to candidacy for all degree programs requires the student to pass a general examination demonstrating the ability to critically read and evaluate the literature in a given subject area of plant physiology. Potential MS Plan A and PhD students must also demonstrate the potential to organize and conduct research. General requirements for all students also include at least two courses from the PMP core and presentation of a minimum of one approved seminar course each semester (excluding summer term).
A final examination is required for the MS Plan A thesis or PhD dissertation and consists of two parts: (a) a public presentation of the research, and (b) an oral examination/defense of the thesis or dissertation.
Students who obtain degrees in the plant physiology option may expect to find employment in academia, private industry, or government agencies or continue their studies elsewhere.
The MS Plan A is a research degree including course work and original research to be presented in the form of a written thesis. This plan is designed for students who intend to progress to a PhD degree program or for those who desire a career in research. Minimum course requirements include 12 credit hours in thesis (BTSC 700) and at least 18 additional credit hours approved by the candidate's graduate program committee. These shall include 6 credit hours in courses numbered 400 to 798 but not PMP 699 or BTSC 200 and 12 credit hours in courses numbered 600 to 798 excluding research methods courses, PMP 699 and BTSC 700. Students must enroll in at least 1 credit hour of BTSC 700 during the semester of graduation.
The MS Plan B is regarded as a terminal degree and is intended for those who do not wish to pursue research as a career. Plan B includes course work and a limited amount of directed research. Students who intend to pursue a research career or enter a PhD program should choose the MS Plan A program. Plan B requires a minimum of 30 credit hours including 18 credit hours in courses numbered 600 to 798, excluding research methods courses and BTSC 700, and 12 credit hours in courses numbered 400 to 798, excluding research methods courses and BTSC 700. All courses must be approved by the candidate's graduate program committee.
The PhD program is designed to allow maximum flexibility for research specialization in a particular area of plant physiology, biochemistry, or cell or molecular biology. A major component of the PhD program is the completion of an original research project and dissertation. The dissertation research is expected to be a significant contribution to plant science. Formal course requirements for the PhD include selections from the PMP core and courses necessary to fulfill the minimal requirements for residence-three semesters of full-time work or the equivalent in credit hours. During the final semester, the student must be registered for at least 1 credit hour of BTSC 800. Other course requirements are determined by the student's temporary or permanent graduate program committee and include at least 2 credit hours of directed research (PMP 699) to be used as part of the general examination. An oral comprehensive examination is required of all PhD students to assess general competence in general botany, cytology, anatomy, morphology, biochemistry, physiology, and specific areas as determined by the student's interest and graduate program committee.