Curriculum Vitae

Mark Guiltinan Ph.D.


1986 - University of California, Irvine, CA, Ph.D., Developmental and Cell Biology

1978 - Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, B.S., Botany


2009 - Fulbright Specialist, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Visiting Scientist, Sao Paulo. Brazil

2001 - Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, Department of Horticulture, The Pennsylvania State University (PSU)

2000 - Acting Co-Director, Penn State Plant Science Center

1997-2001 - Associate Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, Horticulture Dept., PSU

1996 - Director, American Cocoa Research Institute Program in the Molecular Biology of Cocoa

1994- Adjunct Appointment, Department of Biology, PSU

1991-1997 - Assistant Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, Department of Horticulture, PSU

1989-1991 - The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Postdoctoral Research Associate, R. Quatrano Lab

1987-1989 - Rhone Poulenc Agrochimie, Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Associate

1986-1987 - Texas A&M University, Postdoctoral Research Associate, T. Hall Lab

Research Interests and Expertise

Tropical Crop Improvement: The Guiltinan lab is home to the Penn State Program in the Molecular Biology of Cacao (The Chocolate Tree). The cacao group works with collaborators in tropical countries worldwide to improve cacao using the tools of molecular biology. The program has developed cutting edge research tools for cacao such as transformation and tissue culture systems, EST collections and microarrays. One focus group is aimed at understanding how plant pathogens and beneficial endophytic microorganisms interact with cacao. The heart-healthy components of chocolate, the flavonoids, are also being studied and each of the genes for the biosynthetic pathway have been isolated. The group makes use of model plants systems (Arabidopsis, tobacco and tomato) to accelerate progress on cacao (translational biology). Funded by combination of endowment funds, industry funds and USDA funds.

Starch Biosynthesis: The Guiltinan lab seeks to understand the role of maize starch branching enzymes (SBE) in the synthesis of starch and to determine the mechanisms controlling the deposition of the highly ordered structure of plant starch granules. In addition to contributing to the basic understanding of plant growth and development, this knowledge has potential applied impact in the food and energy fields in the near future. One interesting potential application is the production of novel, “resistant starches” which have benefits to diabetics.

Biofuel Production: The Guiltinan lab has recently initiated a project on the tropical shrub Jatropha curcus, a source of high quality oil useful for biodiesel production. This project aims at crop improvement though an integrated team-based approach with two coPIs including development of plant tissue culture/transformation/propagation systems, high-throughput EST sequencing for gene discovery and molecular marker development and the development of a comprehensive marker based breeding program. Industry funded.

Service to the University and the Scientific Community

  1. Acting Co-Director, Penn State Plant Science Center: Planning for future enhancement of research, teaching and outreach programs in plant sciences, including design of research floor of new building and NSF funded plant growth facility.
  2. Development of Research Tools: Research Greenhouse: Led the design and construction of a state-of-the-art physiological greenhouse and oversees its operation since 1995.
  3. Technology Transfer, Scientific Capacity Building for the Developing World: Training of scientists in developing countries through scientific exchanges, workshops, and graduate training. .
  4. Integration of Undergraduate Education, Research and International Experiences:
    Dr. Guiltinan has mentored over 40 students that have worked in his laboratory since 1991. Developed as a pilot program, Plants Without Borders, included an international trip (Summer 2000, Trinidad), during which assistance and training was provided to a cocoa farmer by undergraduate students. . He teaches a course in plant biotechnology yearly.
  5. Service to the Scientific Community Dr. Guiltinan has served his field as a member of US Department of Agriculture – National Research Initiatives (USDA-NRI) and National Science Foundation (NSF) review committees, and by performance of proposal reviews yearly for USDA, NSF, Department of Energy (DOE) and other agencies. He served as on a site visit team for the NSF Plant Genome Program in 2001. He is regularly requested to perform manuscript reviews for major journals (The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology, The Plant Journal, Journal of Plant Physiology, PNAS, etc). Board of Directors, International Group for the Genetic Improvement of Cacao (INGENIC), Chairman, INGENIC Working Group on Molecular biology.

Number of Post-doctors and Ph.D. students trained (1991-2008): 13 and 16

Number of Graduate Committees Served (1998-2008): 35