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Lisa A. Donovan

Plant Sciences, Rm 3501
Plant Sciences, Rm 3516
Research Interests:

The Donovan lab continues to investigate plant evolutionary ecophysiology, with an emphasis on resource use and stress tolerance traits as they relate to plant performance. We study adaptations to growth limiting factors such as drought, nutrient limitations, and salinity. Our current study system primarily consists of wild and cultivated sunflowers that encompass a of wide range of plant ecological strategies and a powerful toolkit of ecological, genetic and genomic tools. In general, we want to know how individual plant traits affect plant fitness and distribution, and how adaptive traits evolve. To address these questions, we use a combination of ecological, ecophysiological, evolutionary genetic and genomic approaches. I officially retired in 2022 but remain active in research as UGA Distinguished Research Professor Emerita. I am not recruiting new undergraduate and/or graduate students.


2015-2023. National Science Foundation, Plant Genome Research Program.  Evolutionary Genomics of Abiotic Stress Resistance in Wild and Cultivated Sunflowers.  PI Burke, CO-PIs Andrade-Sanchez, Bali, Dechaine, Donovan, Langlade, Rieseberg, White.

Selected Publications:

Ph.D Biology, University of Utah 1992

M.S. Marine Studies, University of Delaware 1982

B.S. Biology, Salisbury State College 1980

Of note:
  • 2022 UGA Distinguished Research Professor Emerita
  • 2017-2020 Director UGA Integrated Plant Sciences  PhD. admission portal
  • 2016-2017 UGA Women’s Leadership Fellow
  • 2014-2020 UGA Plant Biology Department Head
  • 2014-2015 UGA Graduate School Outstanding Mentoring Award in Life and Physical Sciences
  • 2014 Distinguished Research Professor
  • 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
  • 2009 Fulbright Visiting Professor, University of Radboud, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • 2006 University of Georgia Creative Research Medal
  • Stebbins Medal award for or the best paper/book published in the area of plant evolution and systematics during 2003 (Rieseberg et al. 2003 Science paper) from the International Association Plant Taxonomists
Articles Featuring Lisa A. Donovan

Congratulations to Douda! Douda, Associate Professor in Plant Biology, was recognized with the UGA research medal for her distinct and exceptional research.

After six years of exemplary leadership, Lisa Donovan handed over the reigns of the Plant Biology Department to John Burke on August 1st, 2020. During her tenure Lisa led the Department to new heights and was also instrumental in envisioning and…

John Burke and Lisa Donovan along with colleagues from British Columbia uncovered a set of "supergenes" that help sunflowers adapt to different environments and are contributing to the amazing diversity in sunflower species today. Because the wild species…

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