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About CAPS

OSU Expertise + Networking = Innovative Collaboration

The Ohio State University Center for Applied Plant Sciences (CAPS) supports interdisciplinary research that span the continuum between basic research and practical solutions to challenges in seven main Strategic Areas. CAPS taps into the incredible scientific expertise available at The Ohio State University by expanding its network of faculty brought together through CAPS initiatives to increase innovative funding opportunities and collaboration. Membership to CAPS is based on individuals across campus who are interested in applied plant sciences. As of 2019, it is made up of individuals from over 36 departments and an alliance of 7 different colleges: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Pharmacy, College of Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Education and Human Ecology.

The CAPS mission is to build synergy that illuminates basic biological concepts and ultimately translate these developments into applications that offer practical solutions to important problems. CAPS provides affiliated members with support and tools for novel discoveries, commercialization and economic development opportunities.

CAPS has participation from individuals at CAPS Thursday Seminars, on scientific teams, seed grant awardees, through outreach activities or on committees.

Seven Strategic Areas

The Center supports interdisciplinary Scientific Teams that span the continuum between basic research and practical solutions to challenges in seven main Strategic Areas:

  • Photosynthesis and Carbon Fixation
  • Biomass and Bio-Products
  • Crop Improvement and Functional Foods
  • Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Discovery and Applications of Plant Secondary Metabolites
  • Redesigning Productive Landscapes
  • Development of Bio-Based Materials

CAPS Seminar Series

The CAPS Seminar Series is a weekly informational session hosted on Thursdays from 4:00-5:00 PM. Members of the CAPS community, as well as any interested faculty (including non-OSU faculty) and graduate students are encouraged and welcome to speak. The seminars are a great opportunity to share interesting research and a phenomenal way to connect to the Ohio State scientific community. 


CMAP: Conversion of Greenhouse Gases into High Value Materials

  • This CAPS project aims to:
    • Develop methods to encapsulate CO2 reducing enzymes within synthetic nanostructures to mimic natural carboxysomes found in nature
    • Create a catalytic RNA molecule for methane oxidation
    • Develop supramolecular catalysts for the conversion of CHinto commodity chemicals
    • Develop strategies to deploy these catalysts in real-world environments

TIRE: Overcoming Barriers to Establishing a Viable Rubber Crop for Ohio Farmers

  • CAPS is supporting the multidisciplinary advancement of a new rubber crop for Ohio (Buckeye Gold, Taraxacum kok-saghyz).  The project leverages CAPS expertise by focusing on the development and utilization of genetic resources and molecular breeding tools, on crop domestication and rubber yield improvement. Domestic rubber production is imperative for the natural rubber security of the United States.

CAPS supports interdisciplinary Scientific Teams that span the continuum between basic research and practical solutions to challenges in four main Strategic Areas. Teams can be self-formed as our Scientific Teams are or initiated by an interesting question posed to our faculty. This could be in the form of a grant opportunity, industry sponsor, or any other opportunity. These teams are encouraged to incorporate investigators across disciplines, departments, colleges and campuses. They have access to research facilities, PhD students and graduate fellowships through the university’s Interdisciplinary Translational Plant Sciences Graduate Program (TPS-GP), postdoctoral fellowships, and research support.

Seed Grants

CAPS is funded by the partnerships between the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC), College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), College of Engineering (COE), and Office of Research (OR). 

The goals of the CAPS Seed Grant Program are to broaden Center affiliation and to foster nascent CAPS teams engaged in activities that build research capacity in one or more broadly-defined strategic areas. CAPS seeks to fund projects that provide interdisciplinary connections among OSU faculty, staff, students and external partners that also leverage diverse talents, expertise, and resources through collaborative work. CAPS Seed Grants are intended to generate new research activities or novel extensions of existing activities, rather than simply providing supplementary project funding. Emphasis will be placed on teams and projects that leverage interdisciplinary research and are likely to produce tangible outputs resulting in capacity building and/or extramural funding at OSU.


The Center for Applied Plant Sciences is committed to sharing science with the public through outreach. Our efforts include involvement in K-12 programming and community events. We invite you to learn more about our outreach initiatives by exploring the links below. 


  • Speaker
  • Reviewer