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Settles Lab

Settles Lab

About Settles Lab


Welcome to the Settles Lab! We are a plant genetics lab located at the University of Florida, started by Dr. A. Mark Settles. Our lab is interested in a variety of research topics including sweet corn improvement, RNA splicing during corn seed development, machine vision, and even growing algae in space! Read more in detail about the work we do in the Research tab. 

In The News

  • Space Bread, a project led by doctoral candidate Hope Hersh was recently awarded a $25k purse prize from NASA for being selected as a phase 1 winner of the Deep Space Food Competition! This project aims to bake fresh bread in space for astronauts. Read more about the competition and award here: NASA announces winners of Deep Space Food Challenge!
  • During Fall of 2020, Dr. Mark Settles was awarded a ~750k grant from NASA! This will provide funding to understand genome-wide mutation load in cyanobacteria grown in spaceflight. You can see the award announcement at the following link: NASA's Awarded Space Biology Research Proposals
  • Hope Hersh, a doctoral student in our lab,  together with Dr. Mark Settles were recently awarded a Space Research Initiative grant from UF Research as Co-Principal Investigators. This award will provide funding to investigate microalgae resistance to ionizing radiation at a genome-wide scale here on Earth! 
  • Dr. Mark Settles was recently featured in an article titled "The Sweet State of Corn" in the April 2020 issue of Food Technology Magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists. Read to learn more about the work Dr. Settles is doing to lead a multidisciplinary effort to improve sweet corn genetics. 
  • Several news outlets recently featured Dr. Mark Settle's Space Algae experiment. Learn more about the experiment in the articles and videos linked below!
  • In 2017, Dr. Settles participated as a crew member in a NASA experiment named Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) XIII. Read more about that unique experiment in this article from NASA titled "Goodbye HERA, Hello Sleep:NASA’s HERA XIII Crew Returns Home to Slumber"

A screenshot of all our lab members smiling while working from home during a zoom meeting

Principal Investigator - Dr. A. Mark Settles

Headshot photo of Dr. Mark Settles


Dr. Mark Settles was a member of the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology program, the Horticultural Sciences program, and the Genetics & Genomics program at the University of Florida. Recently, Dr. Settles has accepted a position at NASA AMES Research Center as Synthetic Biology Lead Investigator! Subsequently, he was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor at the University of Florida. 

Dr. L. Curt Hannah - Emeritus Professor at UF - has stepped in to assist the remaining lab members in fulfilling their research goals.