I joined the faculty of the Biological Sciences Department at FGCU as of January 1, 2005.  FGCU is located in Fort Myers in South Florida.  It is the newest campus of the University of Florida system; it opened its doors in the late 90s.  FGCU is a primarily undergraduate institution; however, M.S. and Ph.D. programs are planned.  I am continuing my research in plant-microbe interactions, with an increasing focus on the systems biology aspects of the work.  However, I am also branching out into new areas. 


        The focus of my program has been signal transduction in plant disease resistance.  Research used principally bacterial pathogens and Arabidopsis as a model system.  Specific focus was in two areas:  1.  Control of programmed cell death in Arabidopsis disease resistance; 2.  Genetic circuitry, feedback regulation, pathway cross-talk and control of informational flux in disease resistance signaling and development of quantitative assays and mathematical modeling techniques to underlie these studies. Close collaboration with chemical engineering colleagues underlied our "Systems biology" approaches.  We developed a website that highlights these approaches and includes all of our published data and code in multiple forms that we thought would be useful to other systems biologists.  This site does not yet include any results from our 2004/2006 efforts, but it will be updated once our in-preparation manuscript is accepted. 

         At FGCU, focus on computational systems biology approaches will increase.  A manuscript currently in preparation will extend our computational models to address cell-to-cell signaling in the Arabidopsis hypersensitive response and report some very interesting results that clarify how the HR contributes to disease resistance.  My engineering collaborators and I are also writing an undergraduate systems biology textbook and beginning to develop new ways of modeling qualitative biological data.  As all models must be tested, I expect to continue the experimental biology also, as guided by the modeling.  The only experimental work from my U. of Delaware days that has not yet been published, aside from a few experiments that were necessary to support the modeling work that will be included in our "in preparation" paper, are the results of our genetic screen for mutants affecting the HR.  I'm hoping to bring that work to the point of the first publication within my first years at FGCU.  Efforts to move what we've learned from Arabidopsis into important crop plant systems are also underway, albeit in early stages.


        Thanks to the tremendous talents of our Research director, Randy Alberte, FGCU now has funding from numerous nonconventional sources in many different areas.  My efforts thus far have been on algal biology projects.  These are just getting off the ground--watch this site for future developments.


         I taught Biochemistry (BCH 3023C) in Spring '05, Issues in Science and Technology (IDS 3303, an upper-division core class required for all majors in the College of Arts and Sciences; I taught it with the topic of Genetically Modified Organisms) in Fall '05, and Biology I Lab (BSC 101C) in Spring '06.

PUBLICATIONS (1997 - present):

Agrawal, V., Sunnam, B., Czymmek, K.J., Ogunnaike, B., Rengaswamy, R., Dhurjati, P.S. and Shapiro, A.D. (2006) Computational Modeling Explains the Trade-off Between Kinetics of Programmed Cell Death and Extent of Cell-to-Cell Signaling in Arabidopsis Defense Responses.  Manuscript in preparation.

Shapiro A.D. (2006) Nitric Oxide in Cell-to-Cell Communication Coordinating the Plant Hypersensitive Response. In: Lamattina L., Polacco J.C. (ed) Nitric Oxide in Plant Growth, Development and Stress Physiology.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.  In press.

Shapiro A.D., Agrawal V., Dhurjati P.S., Czymmek K.J., Ogunnaike B.A., Zhang C. (2006) Systems Biology Explanations of Cell-to-Cell Communication Coordinating the Arabidopsis Hypersensitive Response. In: Sanchez F., Geiger O. (ed) Biology of Plant-Microbe Interactions, Vol. 5.  International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, St. Paul, Minnesota.  In press.

Shapiro, A.D. (2005) Nitric Oxide Signaling in Plants. Vitamins and Hormones 72: 339-398.  This Special Issue was also published as a book called "Plant Hormones", edited by Gerald Litwack.

Zhang, C., Gutsche, A.T. and Shapiro, A.D. (2004) Feedback Control of the Arabidopsis Hypersensitive Response. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 17: 357-365.

Agrawal, V., Zhang, C., Shapiro, A.D. and Dhurjati, P.S. (2004) A Dynamic Mathematical Model to Clarify Signaling Circuitry Underlying Programmed Cell Death Control in Arabidopsis Disease Resistance. Biotechnology Progress 20: 426-442.

Zhang, C., Czymmek, K.J. and Shapiro, A.D. (2003) Nitric Oxide Does Not Trigger Early Programed Cell Death Events but May Contribute to Cell-to-Cell Signaling Governing Progression of the Arabidopsis Hypersensitive Response. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 16: 962-972.

Shapiro, A.D. and Gutsche, A.T. (2003) Capillary Electrophoresis-based Profiling and Quantitation of Total Salicylic Acid and Related Phenolics for Analysis of Early Signaling in Arabidopsis Disease Resistance. Analytical Biochemistry 320: 223-233.

Zhang, C. and Shapiro, A.D. (2002) Two Pathways Act in an Additive Rather than Obligatorily Synergistic Fashion to Induce Systemic Acquired Resistance and PR Gene Expression. BioMedCentral Plant Biology 2:9.

Shapiro, A.D. and Zhang, C. (2001) The Role of NDR1 in Avirulence Gene-Directed Signaling and Control of Programmed Cell Death in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 127: 1089-1101.

Shapiro, A. D. (2000) Using Arabidopsis Mutants to Delineate Disease Resistance Signaling Pathways. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 22: 199-216.

Century, K. S., Shapiro, A. D., Repetti, P. P., Dahlbeck, D., Holub, E. and Staskawicz, B. J. (1997) NDR1: A Pathogen-Induced Component Required for Arabidopsis Disease Resistance. Science 278: 1963-1965.


Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Ft. Myers, FL  33965


          My first Ph.D. student, Chu Zhang, started in the lab September 1998 and defended her thesis in September 2003. She is now a postdoc with Dr. Cindy Carson in the Biological Sciences Dept. of the University of Delaware, working to understand the molecular basis of metastatic prostate cancer.   My second Ph.D. student, Vikas Agrawal, started with us in August 2001.  He defended his Ph.D. in August 2004 and moved on to a postdoctoral appointment with Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz (Cal Tech).  He subsequently moved on to a job with Intel Corporation.  My postdoctoral fellow Dr. Cathy Worley (January 1999 - June 2001), who played the leading role in the genetic screens we did, went on to become a research manager with Dade-Berhing Corporation in Glasgow, Delaware, working with medical diagnostics.  She then went on to work as a patent examiner in the US Patent Office.  My postdoctoral fellow Raghavan Ramanathan (August 2000 - August 2001), who worked on early aspects of our computational modeling, returned to his orginal field of computational fluid dynamics in a second postdoc at U. Penn and then returned to India.  Former visiting scholar Dr. Anita Brinker (February 2000 - October 2000) left to take a permanent position working with Dr. Ilya Raskin at Rutgers. Former visiting scholar Yang Hong-yu (January 2001 - September 2001) returned to her Associate Professor position at Kunming University in China.  My technician Barb Farnworth (August 2000 - September 2002) returned to her native Canada to a job with Response Biomedical Corporation.  My original technician Cindy Boettger (November 1997 - June 2000) now works for John Doms in the Animal Sciences Department.  Two other graduate students initiated degree programs but left for personal reasons.  Both of them (Thaya Ganzke and Revital Herrmann) are currently working at DuPont.

        We also had 14 undergraduate research interns, most of whom are now in graduate/professional school:  Christina Williams (1998-1999) and Katie Guhl (1999) are now both Ph.D. students in Janine Sherrier's lab at U. of Delaware.  Matt Sincock went on to medical school at Thomas Jefferson University.  Candy Tong (1999) went on to the Ph.D. program in the Dept. of Chemistry at Cal Tech.  Josh Hubner (2000-2001) went on to law school at the U. of Florida.  Ojay Okefore was a summer student in 2000 from Del State--current whereabouts unknown.  Laura Sorrentino was a summer student in 2001 from Rowan University who went on to graduate school in Chemical Engineering at Rowan.  Laura Maliszewski (1999-2001) went on to a Ph.D. program in the Dept. of Virology at Harvard University.  Kyle Dorkoski (2001) went on to a position as a technician at Dade-Behring Corporation in Glasgow, Delaware for two years and is now studying to be a physician's assistant at Arcadia College.  Marla Tocker (2001) went on to graduate school in the Biotechnology program at Johns Hopkins University and is now a patent lawyer in Boston.  Chiara Ciotoli (2001-2002) went on to the Ph.D. program in Plant Biology at U. Mass, Amherst.  Carrie Jacobus (2001-2002) went on to the Ph.D. program in Genetics at North Carolina State University.  Bevan Kirley (2001-2003) went initially on to the Ph.D. program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, but then transferred to the U. of Maryland, Baltimore, into a program with a more explicit focus on public health.  Alleen Yu (2002-2003) has worked at Christina Hospital in preparation for applying to medical school, current whereabouts unknown.  

Created January 2005

Last updated February 28, 2006

Copyright © Florida Gulf Coast University, 2005.