Media Relations: Kaitlin Palla

There are two new officers joining FOSEP for the 2016 academic year.  Please join us in welcoming Kaitlin Palla, who will serve as the FOSEP media relations officer.


Kaitlin has a background in horticultural science and forest genetics. During her undergraduate at Purdue University, she gained experience in plant tissue culture working for the USDA-FS Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center. Staying on for her graduate degree, she transitioned to focusing on genetically engineering white ash trees with resistance to the emerald ash borer. She has been at ORNL since earning her Master’s, working in the Plant Systems Biology group on a bioenergy project focused around engineering biomass plants like Poplar to be more water efficient by exploiting the water-use efficiency inherent to the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) pathway present in many desert plants. Her current research focuses on developing model species like Kalanchӧe and Clusia for use in studying the functional genetics of CAM.

She is interested in science extension and outreach, particularly regarding agriculture and energy. Serving as social chair for both ORNL’s Postdoc Association and Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resource’s graduate student government, she looks forward to exploring the potential impacts of science and science policy with FOSEP and the students at UTK.


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