Ben Mansfeld

Ben Mansfeld

Assistant Professor of Biology

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1137
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Plant defense is not a static biological process – it is influenced by dynamic factors such as developmental stage, morphology, tissue type, and the circadian clock.

Our research program uses various non‑model species and a hypothesis driven, systems approach to examine how these factors impact plant defense. We are particularly fascinated by how plants have navigated the fine line between growth and defense, evolving different strategies to optimize interactions with their microbial environments to maximize fitness.

We are a genomics enabled lab that explores the optimization of defense using a hypothesis driven systems biology approach.

Projects in the lab are based on three central tenets:

  1. A focus on the interaction between agriculturally important plants, their wild relatives and their biotic environments.
  2. Investigating how dynamic factors impact these interactions on a fundamental and organismal level, integrating data from transcriptional, biochemical, and epigenetic experiments.
  3. Discoveries in the lab will be utilized to identify cases where mis‑optimization due to breeding and domestication can be addressed and improved for the benefit of agricultural productivity and sustainability.