Spotlight on Josh Strable, graduating this fall with a PhD degree in Plant Biology

December 18, 2015

Josh StrableJosh Strable earned his Ph.D. degree in Plant Biology this fall for his research studies in GDCB Professor Erik Vollbrecht’s lab.  In his dissertation work, he discovered and characterized a gene that is required for proper leaf and floral development in maize.  For Josh, a first generation college student and graduate, holding a terminal degree has been a lifelong goal.  “I am fortunate over the years to have had my parent’s and close friends’ endless support, as I traversed what was so often untrodden territory.  This was hardly a solo journey,” Josh said.

Josh grew up on a century farm near Madison County, Iowa.  For nearly the past twenty years, he has lived without a television.  “My idle time is largely filled by reading, writing, conversing, or running experiments in the lab” he said, “my days are never short.”

Josh is also a recipient of the Graduate College’s Research Excellence Award.  This award is given to students for outstanding research in their dissertations.   Knowing the personal stories, successes and degrees of sacrifice made by other graduate colleagues, Josh said, “adds to the magnitude of receiving this award.”

 In addition to his graduate studies, Josh is a published poet.  His recent editor-selected works have appeared in Foothill (Claremont, CA) and Upstairs at Duroc (Paris, France).  He is also a recent recipient of a FOCUS Artist Grant through the ISU College of Design for his proposal Permutations of Amplicons, a project that extrapolates arrays of genotypes to construct Color Field paintings, like those of Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Gene Davis, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman, by utilizing the inherent chance elements of genetics and by harnessing the myriad color combinations afforded by RGB codes.

Overall, Josh’s journey at Iowa State has earned him a doctorate and carried him beyond the department and science through the arts.  Josh will be a postdoctoral fellow in the research laboratory of Mike Scanlon in the Division of Plant Science at Cornell University.

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