Sci-FEST is made possible through an alliance between researchers in the University of Missouri, Washington State University, and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and financially supported by a grant from National Science Foundation.

Jay Thelen (Principal Investigator)
Dong Xu (Co-Principal Investigator)
Douglas Allen (Co-Principal Investigator)
Abraham Koo (Co-Principal Investigator) (Co-lead for Sci-FEST)
Philip Bates (Co-Principal Investigator)
Marcelle Siegel (Co-Investigator) (Co-lead for Sci-FEST)

Dr. Abraham J. Koo

Dr. Koo is Associate Professor of Biochemistry Department at the University of Missouri. Main areas of his research are plant defense against insects, phytohormone jasmonate metabolism and signaling, and metabolic engineering of plants to increase oil production. More information can be found at:

Dr. Marcelle A. Siegel

Marcelle Siegel is Associate Professor of Science Education at the University of Missouri. She is jointly appointed in the Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum and the Department of Biochemistry. Marcelle graduated from Haverford College while majoring in Biology at Bryn Mawr College. She then combined her interests in science and education by enrolling in an interdisciplinary program to earn a Master’s in biology while earning a PhD in science education at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Siegel’s current research focuses on a key obstacle and point of leverage for enhancing learning and teaching–assessment. She received the 2016 Research in Biology Education award from the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Dr. Dong Xu

Dr. Xu is Shumaker Endowed Professor in Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with appointments in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center and the Informatics Institute at the University of Missouri. His research is in computational biology and bioinformatics, including machine-learning application in bioinformatics, protein structure prediction, post-translational modification prediction, high-throughput biological data analyses, and in silico studies of plants, microbes and cancers, biological information systems. More information can be found at:

Dr. Doug Allen

Dr. Allen is a USDA-ARS Research Scientist and Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. His research focuses on quantitative descriptions of central carbon metabolism in plants that includes photosynthetic carbon assimilation and partitioning into important storage reserves such as protein and oil.

Dr. Phil Bates

Dr. Philip Bates is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Washington State University. His research focuses on characterizing the biochemical pathways of plant lipid synthesis including the mechanisms that control seed oil accumulation and oil composition for use in food, biofuels, or the chemical industry. More information can be found at:

Dr. Jay Thelen

Dr. Thelen is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Missouri.  His lab is located in the Bond Life Sciences Center.  He is a recipient of both the Mizzou Chancellor’s and Presidential Awards for research creativity and excellence.  His lab studies metabolic regulation of oil production in plants, and leverages these findings to engineer higher oil crops.