About Jane Grimwood
Jane Grimwood, PhD
Location: 601 Genome Way, Huntsville, AL 35806
Puzzles intrigue Jane Grimwood, PhD. And every day at the Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Grimwood works on a DNA puzzle. She deciphers how the basic building blocks for life fit together to compose cotton, switchgrass, poplar, or sorghum, for example.
Grimwood co-directs the GSC with Jeremy Schmutz. Together, they manage one of the few centers in the world performing original sequencing of plants and specializing in applying genomic techniques to understanding how plants function in response to their environment.
Grimwood found genomics after she earned her PhD from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and finished her postdoctoral training at the University of Oxford, Dartmouth College, and the University of San Francisco. In 2000, she began working with Richard Myers, PhD, on the Human Genome Project and joined HudsonAlpha in 2008.
The switch from human to plant genomes didn’t seem like a big shift, she says, “DNA is DNA, right?” she asks. “To a naked eye, all DNA would look the same.”
Grimwood’s plant genome work at the GSC constantly changes as well. “We shift constantly. We move on to different organisms very quickly because we are using the same techniques over and over again, just on a new set of DNA.”
While Grimwood never would have guessed at the beginning of her career that she would wind up sequencing plant genomes for the GSC at HudsonAlpha, she says she would do it all the same way again.
“Knowing that plant genomics will have a lasting impact on the environment, energy production and improvements in food production motivates me every day,” she says.
Visit the Genome Sequencing Center.