Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Plants are critical for sustaining life on Earth, from microscopic algae to giant sequoia trees. Through the fundamental study of these organisms, plant biologists play a major role in providing us with more and better foods, in helping to characterize and preserve the quality of our environment, and in learning more about the many ways plants can be used.

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology offers the only plant biology undergraduate degree in the state of North Carolina and houses world-class teaching and research programs that prepare our students for advanced training and careers in a number of life science and agricultural areas. Undergraduate majors have course options that span the breadth of the discipline, from plant physiology and molecular biology to floristics and plant ecology, as well as ethnobotany. Students apply what they learn through research and hands-on experiences in lab and field courses.

Selected faculty in Plant and Microbial Biology also work with the Biological Sciences faculty in the College of Sciences to offer the B.S. degree in Microbiology.

Undergraduate Program Highlights

  • The undergraduate major is flexible, enabling students to pursue plant biology and elective courses that align with their career goals and interests.
  • The department is home to the University Certificate in Field Botany, which students may complete en route to their degree.
  • Many Plant Biology courses include laboratory or field components that provide students with hands-on experiences.
  • A substantive research, teaching, or internship experience in the plant sciences is required of all students in the major to prepare and help qualify them for post-graduate education or employment in plant biology and the applied plant sciences, health professions, and education. Students work closely with departmental faculty and their academic advisor to identify training and career opportunities that are consistent with their goals. 
  • Undergraduate students interested in getting involved in plant biology may join the Botany Club at NC State, which has regular meetings during the academic year.

Contact Information

Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
NC State University
Campus Box 7612
Raleigh, NC 27695-7612

Dr. Bob Franks
Professor and Department Head
NC State University
2115 Gardner Hall, Box 7612
Raleigh, NC 27695-7612
Phone : 919.515.3807

Department Head

  • Robert G. Franks

Associate Department Head

  • Marcela Rojas-Pierce

Director of Plant Biology Undergraduate Programs

  • Chad V. Jordan

Director of Plant Biology Graduate Programs

  • Richard L. Blanton

Director of Microbiology Graduate Programs

  • Michael R. Hyman

University Research Professor

  • W.F. Thompson

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professors

  • C.V. Jordan
  • J.E. Mickle

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professors

  • J. Alonso
  • J.M. Burkholder
  • A. Grunden
  • L.K. Hanley-Bowdoin


  • J.M. Alonso
  • R.L. Blanton
  • J.M. Bruno-Bàrcena
  • J.M. Burkholder
  • S.B. Carson
  • R.G. Franks
  • A. Grunden
  • C.H. Haigler
  • L.K. Hanley-Bowdoin
  • C.V. Hawkes
  • W. Hoffmann
  • M. Hyman
  • J.E. Mickle
  • E. Miller
  • A. Percy
  • M. Rojas-Pierce
  • H.I.A. Sederoff
  • R. Sozzani
  • W.F. Thompson
  • C.M. Williams
  • Q. Xiang
  • D. Xie

Professors Emeriti

  • N.S. Allen
  • U. Blum
  • W.F. Boss
  • R.S. Boston
  • M.E. Daub
  • E. Davies
  • R.C. Fites
  • P.T. Hamilton
  • J.W. Hardin
  • G. Luginbuhl
  • L. Parks
  • H. Pattee
  • N. Robertson
  • J.M. Stucky
  • J.F. Thomas
  • C.G. Van Dyke
  • T.R. Wentworth

Research Professor

  • I. Perera

Teaching Professor

  • C.V. Jordan

Associate Professors

  • T-F. Hsieh
  • A. Krings
  • X. Li
  • T.A. Long
  • A. Stepanova

Associate Research Professor

  • C. Saravitz

Associate Teaching Professor

  • J.M. De Gezelle

Assistant Professors

  • O. Arguello-Miranda
  • M. Choidoir
  • M. Kleiner
  • W. Petry
  • S.N. Sheth

Associate Members of the Faculty

  • P. Balint-Kurti, Entomology and Plant Pathology
  • K.O. Burkey, Crop and Soil Sciences
  • V. Chiang, Forestry and Environmental Resources
  • K.S. Cohan
  • R.E. Dewey, Crop and Soil Sciences
  • C. Doherty, Biochemistry
  • S. Hu, Entomology and Plant Pathology
  • S. Kathariou, Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences
  • S. Komarnytsky, Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences
  • R. Kouri, Poole College of Management
  • D.C. Muddiman, Chemistry
  • R. Qu, Crop and Soil Sciences
  • F. de los Reyes, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
  • J.B. Ristaino, Entomology and Plant Pathology
  • T.W. Rufty, Jr. , Crop and Soil Sciences
  • R. Sederoff
  • J. Strable
  • J.P. Wang
  • R. Whetten, Forestry and Environmental Resources