Matthew Lemke

MCB PhD Student

MCB Program Start:  2020 
Undergrad:  BSc, Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, 2019 

Research Advisor and Department
Dr. Jesse Woodson, Woodson Lab, School of Plant Sciences.

Research Topic
Plants have evolved complex signaling mechanisms that allow them to sense and respond to reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated during abiotic stresses. In particular, chloroplasts naturally generate large amounts of ROS, including singlet oxygen (1O2), during photosynthesis. This localized 1O2 can damage the chloroplast and trigger quality control systems leading to selective chloroplast degradation. This raises an intriguing question; How do plants sense chloroplast dysfunction and selectively degrade damaged chloroplasts to sustain healthy chloroplast populations? To answer this question, I use genetic analyses and approaches to identify genes and pathways involved in 1O2-mediated chloroplast quality control and selective chloroplast degradation.

Outreach and Service

UBRP Small Group Co-Leader/Mentor
SARSEF S.T.A.R. Labs Mentor

Honors and Awards

MCB NIH T32 Training Grant 2021-2023
Galileo Circle Scholar 2022
R.A. Harvill Graduate Fellow 2019-2020

Twitter Account: @m_lemke1
LinkedIn Account:    

Nature photography, reading, hiking, and traveling as much as possible. I am passionate about exploring and experiencing our world's geological and natural wonders. So much cool stuff out there to see! 

Guiding Principle 
Keep moving forward!



Lemke, M. D., and J. D. Woodson, "Targeted for destruction: degradation of singlet oxygen-damaged chloroplasts.", Plant Signal Behav, vol. 17, issue 1, pp. 2084955, 2022 12 31. PMCID: PMC9196835 PMID: 35676885


Lemke, M. D., K. E. Fisher, M. A. Kozlowska, D. W. Tano, and J. D. Woodson, "The core autophagy machinery is not required for chloroplast singlet oxygen-mediated cell death in the Arabidopsis thaliana plastid ferrochelatase two mutant.", BMC Plant Biol, vol. 21, issue 1, pp. 342, 2021 Jul 19. PMID: 34281507