Erin Sparks


  • Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University, 2011-2017
  • Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University, 2011
  • B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, 2006


The Sparks lab aims to understand the development, morphology, function, and molecular regulation of shoot-borne brace roots in maize. The ultimate goal of this work is to match brace roots to their environment and improve plant production. To achieve this goal we employ multi-disciplinary approaches from molecular biology to engineering.

CANR Sparks Lab (website currently under construction)

Recent Publications

Bucksch A, Atta-Boateng A, Azihou AF, Battogtokh D, Baumgartner A, Binder B, Braybrook SA, Chang C, Coneva V, DeWitt TJ, Fletcher AG, Gehan MA, Diaz-Martinez DH, Hong L, Iyer-Pascuzzi A, Klein LL, Leiboff S, Li M, Lynch JP, Maizel A, Maloff JN, Markelz RJ, Martinez CC, Miller LA, Mio W, Palubicki W, Poorter H, Pradal C, Price CA, Puttonen E, Reese J, Rellan-Alvarez R, Spalding EP, Sparks EE, Topp CN, Williams JH and Chitwood DH. “Morphological Plant Modeling: Unleashing geometric and topological potential within the plant sciences” Frontiers in Plant Science In Press

Balduzzi M, Binder B, Bucksch A, Chang C, Hong L, Iyer-Pascuzzi A, Pradal C and Sparks EE. “Reshaping plant biology: qualitative and quantitative plant morphology” Frontiers in Plant Science, Plant Biophysics and Modeling.

Sparks EE, Drapek C, Gaudinier A, Li S, Ansariola M, Shen N, Hennacy JH, Zhang J, Turco G, Petricka JJ, Foret J, Hartemink AJ, Gordân R, Megraw M, Brady SM and Benfey PN. “Establishment of expression in the SHORTROOT-SCARECROW transcriptional cascade through opposing activities of both activators and repressors.” Developmental Cell, 2016 Dec; 39(5):585-596.


Contact Information
Erin Sparks

Assistant Professor

Plant and Soil Sciences
Delaware Biotechnology Institute
15 Innovation Way
Newark, DE 19711
Phone: Phone: (302) 831-3428