Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) Project Deputy Director Lisa Ainsworth is a Research Plant Physiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and an adjunct professor of plant biology and crop sciences at the University of Illinois. Lisa’s research applies physiological, biochemical, and genomic tools to understand the mechanisms of plant responses to global climate change. Her current research is quantifying genetic variation in response to elevated ozone concentrations among diverse inbred and hybrid maize lines in the field. She is also developing high-throughput phenotyping techniques to identify ozone sensitivity and the genes and gene networks underpinning these ozone responses in corn and soybeans. For the RIPE project, she is working on understanding the architecture of crop canopies and how this structure impacts their photosynthetic efficiency. 

Lisa earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and went on to earn her doctorate from Illinois. She has received the Charles Albert Shull Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists, the President’s Medal from the Society of Experimental Biology, and was named a University Scholar by Illinois. She was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2019. In addition, Lisa was honored with the 2019 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences, and she was elected to the NAS in 2020. In 2021, Lisa was named the USDA-ARS' Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year. Currently, she serves on the editorial boards of Science Advances and Plant, Cell & Environment. Her work has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including Science, PNAS, and Plant Physiology. 

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