B.S., Biology 1976 Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA
M.S., Microbiology 1983 Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA
Ph.D., Microbiology 1988 North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Dr. Allen received his PhD in Microbiology from North Carolina State University with Dr. Gerald Elkan. He then moved into the area of plant molecular biology during his postdoctoral research position with Dr. William Thompson in the Botany Department at North Carolina State. Allen and Thompson, in a collaboration with Dr. Spiker and Dr. Gerald Hall (from the NCSU Genetics Department) were the first to isolate the nuclear matrix (originally termed nuclear scaffold) from plants. The group then demonstrated that when DNA elements that bind to the nuclear matrix (called MARs or SARs) are used to flank a transgene, the expression of the transgene could be "protected" from certain forms of gene silencing.
Dr. Allen is currently the Director of the North Carolina State University Plant Transformation Laboratory in the Department of Crop Science. His research programs have both applied and basic research goals. The goal of the applied program is to improve the production of economically important transgenic plants by helping to build a bridge between NCSU plant breeding programs and NCSU molecular biology programs. Dr. Allen's basic research goal is to gain basic understanding of how higher-order nuclear structure impacts transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing, DNA replication, and developmental processes plants. Information from the basic program can then be applied to plants of interest for the NCSU community.