Strauss, Steven H.

Distinguished Professor of Forest Biotechnology, Leopold Fellow

Office Location: 
338 Richardson Hall
Email Address: 

Tree and crop biotechnology, genomics, regulation, and outreach

Educational Background: 
  • B.S., 1978, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • M.F.S., 1980, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Ph.D., 1985, University of California, Berkeley

I have been working in tree and plant biotechnology—teaching, providing outreach to the public, and conducting research—for more than 30 years. I run an active genetic transformation (gene insertion) lab that has produced thousands of transgenic trees, and we have tested many of these in the field. Because of the demand for reliable information on GMO crops and trees by the public, I have given numerous lectures to the public, wrote papers about policy options for improved regulations, and for ~10 years taught an interdisciplinary course on the science and social views of genes and chemicals in agriculture. It is offered most terms as either an ecampus (online) or campus class. A new honors colloquium will first be offered in 2016.

When not working, you can usually find me running in the hills around Corvallis, refereeing competitive high school soccer, mountain biking, or enjoying the many fine beers and wines produced here in Oregon. My BIO statement, CV, and publication list gives the gory details!

Please email me if you are interested in undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral research.

Research Interests: 
Genetic engineering and genomic approaches to understanding and improving trees for plantation forestry and horticulture. Interdisciplinary analysis to understand, and propose, improvements to regulations of genetically engineered crops and trees.
Current/Recent Programs: 

Current and recent work in the lab includes:

  1. Genetic containment technologies via RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 approaches.
  2. Field tests of containment and pollution reduction genes in poplar, eucalypts, and/or sweetgum.
  3. Analyses and surveys of public attitudes, and development of regulatory revisions, to reduce risk and promote innovation.
  4. Genome sequencing to understand, and provide new breeding tools, for acceleration of interspecific heterosis (hybrid vigor) breeding in poplar.
  5. Genome sequencing to study the possible Missoula Flood origins of Willamette Valley aspens (crowdfunded).
  6. Transcriptome (mRNA genome sequencing) to understand the process of leaf senescence in poplar to guide genetic engineering of bioplastics production in leaves.
  7. Transcriptome (mRNA genome sequencing) during eucalypt flower, pollen, and seed development to guide the creation of new genetic engineering approaches to containment of exotic and transgenic trees (when these are appropriate due to social or ecological problems).Genetic engineering of poplars, molecular diversity, tree genome mapping.
  8. Collaboration with ecologists and legal scholars to understand impacts (benefits, safety), and propose revisions to federal regulations, for genetically engineered crops and trees.
  9. Teaching (college, K-12) and outreach to the public about the benefits, risks, and science surrounding genetically engineered (GMO) crops and trees.
  10. Director, Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative (TBGRC)
Graduate Students: 

Member of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, and Molecular and Cellular Biology. Strauss can accept graduate students under either FES or MCB programs.

Selected Publications: 

Click here to view a list of publications

Area of Focus: