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Yandeau-Nelson Team - Team Silky

Overview: Maize Surface Lipid Project

This collaborative and interdisciplinary team is focused on understanding the biosynthetic pathways and genetic networks responsible for the accumulation of surface lipids on aerial portions of land plants.These surface lipids provide a hydrophobic layer that is a primary line of defense against numerous biological and environmental stresses. 

We are using the surface lipid metabolome on the silks of maize as the model to study how the organism adapts and protects plant surfaces from environmental stresses.

Explore our research


The Yandeau-Nelson team greatly values outreach to and engagement with K-12 youth, educators and undergraduates.  We aim to excite STEM-underrepresented students about science, provide research opportunities in the lab and in the field, and facilitate exploration of future careers in the plant sciences.  We value our partnership with Iowa State University's Science Bound program in these efforts, and often host our "A Plant's Molecular Raincoat" hands-on module during Science Bound Saturdays. 

Interested in participating in our outreach activities?  Interested in conducting undergraduate research on our team?  Please contact Dr. Marna Yandeau-Nelson (

Learn more about our outreach

Our Team, Our Mission

Our research team embraces collaborative, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to answering complex questions related to plant metabolism and how plants protect themselves against environmental stresses in the face of climate change.  Team photo taken during Zoom meeting

Our graduate students specialize in plant genetics, biochemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology, molecular and developmental biology and statistics, which we integrate together in interdisciplinary research and multi-institution projects.  In addition, some participate in industry internships, and many are passionate about teaching during their grad careers and beyond.  We value a diverse and inclusive atmosphere that facilitates collaboration, partnership, and a lot of fun along the way.  Click below to learn more about our a-maize-ing team members and our Team's Mission!

Meet our team