Research Overview

Research in the Coleman Lab focuses on understanding how plant cell walls are formed and the various internal and external factors which influence their characteristics, particularly in terms of composition and structure. The cell wall is important in plants for structure, support, defense and water transport, and from a human perspective influences the ways in which we can use plants as structural materials, food, fiber and fuel. We use poplar as a model system for this research.

Available Lab Positions

Post-doctoral Researcher

The Coleman Lab has limited openings for exceptional postdocs at Syracuse University. Experience in molecular biology, plant tissue culture and plant physiology is preferred. Please contact Professor Coleman directly if you are interested in a position.

Graduate Student

Graduate student positions are currently available in the area of plant secondary cell wall formation. Students will use poplar, a well characterized model tree species, for projects that encompass molecular biology, plant tissue culture, biochemistry, wood chemistry and plant physiology. Financial support is available through teaching assistantships and includes benefits and tuition remission. Interested applications can find more information on the Biology website and should also send an expression of interest including a CV or resume to Heather Coleman (

Undergraduate Researcher

Undergraduate researchers in the lab get hands-on experience in the areas of molecular biology, plant tissue culture and wood chemistry analysis. This may include PCR, restriction digests, gel electrophoresis, gas chromatography, NMR, and ion chromatography.

Due to the time required to carry out these research projects, student should be prepared to spend a minimum of 2 semesters on this research experience. Students who contribute significantly to a project will contribute to and be included in authorship on publications.