Dr. J. Scott Lowman joined IALR in 2014 and was named Director of Applied Research in 2018. He has most notably championed work in biotechnology and advanced imaging to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability. His team seeks to identify promising natural microbial biostimulant and biocontrol agents (including beneficial plant bacteria, or endophytes) to increase plant growth and health while protecting the environment. Scott’s team also uses the latest technology in unmanned aerial vehicles, multispectral and thermal imaging and robotics to improve plant productivity. In recognition of his work, Scott was named a 2017 Outstanding Recent Graduate Alumnus at Virginia Tech and was presented the Commonwealth Environmental Leadership Award from the Waldorf Foundation. He played an integral role in IALR’s recent licensure of a collection of endophytes to Indigo Ag, Inc., a leading company dedicated to harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. Scott has helped lead efforts to produce a library of more than 2,000 characterized endophytes, which continues to grow. Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology with Honors from Virginia Tech, his master’s in Biology from the College of William and Mary, and his Ph.D. focused on molecular plant microbe interactions from Virginia Tech.
- Molecular biology – Genetic engineering of plants and bacteria, RT PCR, PCR, bioinformatics, enzyme assays and DNA Sequencing
- Plant biology – Plant tissue culture, bacterial inoculations, greenhouse and fieldtrials, CO2/photosynthesis data collection
- Microbiology – Isolation and manipulation of environmental isolates, beneficial plant microbeinteractions, plant pathogen studies
- Digital phenotyping – Plant image analysis, robotic table and drone image acquisition, multispectral andthermal data analysis
- Greenhouse management – Environmental controls and irrigation management, integrated pest management, and greenhouse vegetable production
- Hydroponics – Ebb-flow, Nutrient film technique (NFT), deep water culture, and hybrid plant /system design and development