CAPS Leadership


Dr. Jay Hollick

Dr. Jay Hollick received his B.A. at the Genetics University of California, Berkeley in 1993. He then moved on to receive his Ph.D. in Biochemistry University of Washington, Seattle in 1998. Dr. Hollick serves as the Director of the Center for Applied Plant Sciences. Through his research he has interest in mechanisms that generate and maintain heritable phenotypic variation. The current emphasis is aimed at understanding epigenetic systems that cause mitotically, and meiotically, heritable changes in gene activity. He is focused on one particular mechanism, called paramutation, in which the regulation of one allele is hertiably altered through interactions with the homologous allele. He is asking several key questions: what is the molecular nature of this meiotically heritable change, how does this change affect gene expression, how do two alleles communicate with each other, and how general is this mechanism in plant growth and development? He uses the superb genetic, molecular genetic, cytogenetic, and cytological tools available in Zea mays to address these questions.

Associate Director

Image of Associate Director, David Mackey

Dr. David Mackey received his B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Penn State in 1991. Next he earned his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1997. Following a three year post-doc at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, he moved to Ohio State in 2002 as a faculty member in the Department of Horticulture & Crop Science. He currently holds the rank of Professor with appointments in the Departments of Horticulture & Crop Science and Molecular Genetics and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Plant pathology. Dr. Mackey serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Applied Plant Sciences, and in that capacity as the Director of the Translational Plant Sciences Graduate Program ( In this role, he develops and implements training programs at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels. Dr. Mackey’s research focuses on the interaction between plants and plant-pathogenic bacteria, with projects investigating the nature of the plant immune system, how the plant immune system is suppressed by bacterial virulence proteins and toxins, as well as how plant physiology is altered by bacterial virulence proteins to create a nutritive and aqueous environment conducive to bacterial proliferation. The work is conducted in the model plants Arabidopsis thalianaand Nicotiana benthamiana as well as the model grass/crop plant Zea mays.

Associate Director 

Image of Associate Director, Andy Michel

Dr. Michel received his B.Sc. in Entomology from Purdue University, and then a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame.  After a 2-year post-doctoral appointment at Notre Dame, he joined the Entomology Department at Ohio State in 2007, where he currently serves as Interim Associate Chair for the department. He is also an Associate Director for CAPS, facilitating research and participation from faculty members in CFAES and OARDC, as well as strengthening collaboration with colleagues at Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.  His research investigates how insect pests adapt to rapidly changing selection pressures in agroecosystems, specifically in overcoming plant defenses (whether they be natural or transgenic). A lack of understanding of how insect pests adapt limits the effectiveness and sustainability of insect management, and threatens agricultural production. His research methods range across scales, from molecular to ecosystems, and include genome sequencing, gene expression, molecular marker analysis, and migration and gene flow estimation across a species distribution. Understanding and demonstrating how insects adapt, as well as communicating research-based insect management recommendations, delays the evolution of resistance or emergence of pests and ensures safer and more productive food supply.


Image of Center Manger, Jessica Weitthoff

Jessica Weitthoff currently serves as the CAPS Center Manager. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelors of Science in Sport Sciences from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Jessica focuses on CAPS business operations, event coordinator and Rightmire Hall facilities. As the business official for CAPS, she is responsible for the finances, human reseources, and grants administration. In August 2019, Jessica Weitthoff received her Master’s in Business Administration from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.