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Thomas Björkman Lab

Thomas Björkman

Professor of Vegetable Crop Physiology

Section of Horticulture
Cornell University
635 W. North St.
Geneva, NY 14556


B.S. Biochemistry, University of California, Davis, 1979
Ph.D. Plant Physiology, Cornell University, 1986 

Program Overview

Field of Specialization

Environmental effects on plant development, especially reproductive growth and roots. The application of that knowledge to grow vegetables with less economic and environmental risk, and with higher quality.

Current Projects

Breeding and raising broccoli in warm, humid conditions 
Cover crops for use in vegetable production
The mechanism of heat injury to broccoli flower-bud development 

See this great PBS video, Broccoli Man, about the broccoli work.
Bjorkman and Gomez setting up a broccoli tasting experiment that found local broccoli to be tastier.

Recent Projects

Increasing springtime phosphorus availability in high-P soils
Implementation of Trichoderma-based biocontrol in sh2-sweet corn and bean production
Controlling excessive stem elongation in tomato transplant production
Selection of buckwheat germplasm adapted to the Northeastern US

Information for Growers

Cover crops for vegetables
Developing an Eastern broccoli industry
Buckwheat production guide and growers association
Biocontrol for root health with T-22
Organic fertility recommendations--how much compost?
Height control in transplants

Research Experience

2017 - present  Professor, Section of Horticulture, Cornell University
Vegetable crop physiology; plant-environment interactions; root growth physiology.
1996 - 2017 Associate Professor, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, Cornell University
1990 - 1996 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, Cornell University
1986 - 1990 NASA Research Associate, Botany Department, University of Washington
Calcium signalling in gravitropism (Robert E. Cleland)
2000 Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Localization of homeotic gene expression during floral transition (Jack Okamuro and Bob Goldberg)
1984-1986 Graduate Student, Boyce Thompson Institute
Gravity sensing in root statocytes (Carl Leopold)
1980-1984 NSF Graduate Fellow, Department of Agronomy, Cornell University
Acclimation to drought stress. (Peter L. Steponkus)
1980 Visiting graduate student. Plant Physiology, University of Lund, Sweden (Anders Kylin and Tomas Lundborg)
1977-1979 Undergraduate research assistant. University of California, Davis.
Chilling injury in tomato roots (Bill Breidenbach)


List of Publications
People in the lab

Professional Societies and Service

  • Amer. Soc. Horticultural Science (Fellow)
  • Scandinavian Soc. Plant Physiology
  • Amer. Soc. Plant Biology
  • Sigma Xi (Geneva Chapter president 1993-94, 2001-02)
  • Botanical Society of America

Vegetable Crop Program Work Team, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Chair, National Issues Committee, American Society for Horticultural Science
Chair, Geneva Arboretum Association, Cornell AgriTech


Cornell AgriTech at New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
635 West North Street
Geneva, New York 14456
Telephone: 315.787.2218

Last Modified: Oct 9, 2018