USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Dr. Ponciano is a Molecular Biologist native of Guatemala. She earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala in 1991, and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Kansas State University in 2003 under the mentorship of Professor Jan E. Leach. As a postdoctoral fellow she worked with rice at San Francisco State University and the University of California Davis (2004-2007), and later with potatoes at the US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS; 2008-2010). In both cases, her research focused on the molecular mechanisms of plant-microbe interactions and plant disease control. In 2010 she joined the rubber lab at USDA-ARS in Albany, California to investigate the biosynthetic pathway of rubber in plants working with guayule (Parthenium argentatum) and rubber dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz). Recently, her research has incorporated synthetic biology tools to develop a platform for ex vivo synthesis of rubber and novel polymers. Through her work, Dr. Ponciano participates with the SBAR Feedstock Development & Production Team.