Chris Botanga, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
Director of CSER, Professor of Biology
Co-PI and Director of the ILSAMP Alliance

Biological Sciences
Chicago State University
Chris Botanga, Ph.D.

Dr. Botanga is a Professor of Genetics & Genomics, ILSAMP Alliance PI, and Executive Director at the Center for STEM Education and Research (CSER) at Chicago State University (CSU). In his capacity as Executive Director of CSER, he works very closely with the team members to ensure success on the various projects being executed by the center, and overseeing the day-to-day activities of various STEM initiatives, including ILSAMP and LSMCE. He develops, designs, and implements initiatives aimed at increasing recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minorities in the STEM disciplines. Dr. Botanga maintains a very active research lab that engages students and serves as the training ground for both graduate and undergraduate students at CSU, as well as visiting students. Current research in his lab employs a variety of functional genomic platforms including molecular biology, bioinformatics, epigenetics, and both forward and reverse genetics to understand the mechanism of host-pathogen interactions involved in a battery of defense responses mounted by plants to ward off pathogens. Most recently, his lab (as part of a USDA-NIFA funded project) is evaluating cell wall biosynthetic genes in an effort to identify the genes involved in important agronomic traits. He has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed journal publications and presentations at local, national and international conferences. He has taught (and continues to teach) a wide range of courses, ranging from Introductory Biology to graduate courses. He is currently the co-chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for CSU. Prior to joining CSU, Dr. Botanga was a Post-doctoral Associate (genetics and genomics) at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Assistant Professor of Biology at Augsburg College, Minneapolis.