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John C. Sedbrook​, PhD

Professor of Genetics

Coordinator, School Biological Sciences Bioenergy Master’s sequence​

Coordinator, Integrated Plant Biology and Bioenergy (IPBB) research and education group.

Postdoc: Carnegie Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 

PhD: University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Genetics, Madison, WI

Lab Overview​

Members of the Sedbrook lab are performing basic and translational research aimed at identifying molecular genetic mechanisms that can be exploited to improve crops for human use, in particular as new bioenergy crops. The lab’s two main research foci are:

1) Rapidly domesticating pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) as a new winter annual oilseed cover crop to be grown in temperate regions of the world including throughout the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt.

2) Understanding and manipulating secondary cell wall formation in grasses to improve biomass deconstruction properties for biofuels generation without compromising plant health.​

Current Funding

USDA-NIFA/DOE Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy, 2018-2021. Genetic improvement of seed yield and oil content in field pennycress, a non-food oilseed feedstock.​

USDA-NIFA/DOE Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy, 2017-2020. Advancing field pennycress as a new oilseed biofuels feedstock that does not require new land commitments.​

Recent Funding​

DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), 2007-2017. The GLBRC is one of three $25 million per year Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Centers (DOE BRCs) with a mission to perform basic research aimed at breaking barriers to the efficient, economic and sustainable generation of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. Learn about GLBRC research

USDA-NIFA/DOE Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy, 2014-2017. Advancing field pennycress as a new oilseed biodiesel and jet fuel feedstock that does not require new land commitments.​​


2017 Illinois State University College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding College Researcher Award. This award is given to one candidate in each College who was nominated by their respective Department.  

Illinois State University 2006 Research Initiative Award. This award is given to faculty members who have initiated a promising research agenda early in their academic careers.​​​​​

Illinois State University Million Dollar Club (Inducted in 2012). To date, Dr. Sedbrook has secured nearly $3 million in extramural funding for his lab’s research.


John Sedbrook
School of Biological Sciences
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4120
Normal, IL 61790 USA

Phone: (309) 438-3374
Fax: (309) 438-3722

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