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Lisa Ainsworth's Laboratory


Jessica Wedow

Photo of Jessica Wedow

Ph.D. Student, Department of Plant Biology



Ph.D. Plant Biology, expected 2020

University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Bachelor of Science, Genetic Biology, 2013

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Environmental stresses disproportionately affect countries and regions of the world with some of the highest rates of food insecurity. As carbon dioxide concentrations ([CO2]) continue to increase yielding a warmer global surface temperature, extreme weather is projected to become more frequent and further impose food supply challenges across the world. ). Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a GHG and air pollutant formed from the reaction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds in the presence of UV light. In the United States, [O3] regularly exceed damaging levels for human health and crop production, with an estimated yield loss of about 10% for rain-fed maize (McGrath et al. 2015). Global agriculture demands are expected to increase by approximately 65% by 2100, due to a rising world population with greater affluence and more demanding food consumption habits (FAO 2016).

Today C4 grass species are responsible for a large majority of the world’s food production. Understanding the response of C4 crops to environmental stress is a first step towards adapting agriculture to extreme weather. Metabolomic profiling, the identification and quantification of diverse plant metabolites, offers an ideal platform for understanding the biochemical responses of plants to environmental stress, and compliments other physiological and molecular analysis. My dissertation aims to quantify changes in metabolite profiles of agronomically important C4 grasses in response to 1) elevated temperature and [CO2]; and 2) elevated ozone.  


Wedow JM, Yendrek CR, Mello TR, Creste S, Martinez CA, Ainsworth EA (2019) Metabolite and transcript profiling of Guinea grass (Panicum maximum Jacq) response to elevated [CO2] and temperature. Metabolomics 15:51.

Ainsworth EA, Lemonnier P, Wedow JM (2019) The influence of rising tropospheric carbon dioxide and ozone on plant productivity. Plant Biology, DOI:10.1111/plb.12973.

Kirpich A, Ainsworth EA, Wedow JM, Newman JRB, Michailidis G, McIntyre LM. (2018) Variable selection in omics data: a practical evaluation of small sample sizes.. PLoS ONE 13, e0197910.


2017 Workflow for Metabolomics Workshop, Paris France

2017 Francis M. and Harlie M. Clark Research Support Grant

2017 Harley J. Van Cleave Research Award

2015 American Society of Plant Biologist, Conference Travel Award