Professor Rob Martienssen leads the plant biology group at CSHL, where he focuses on epigenetic mechanisms that shape and regulate the genome, and their impact on development and inheritance. His work on transposons or "jumping genes" in plants and in fission yeast revealed a link between heterochromatin and RNA interference. His work, along with that of his colleagues, was awarded the “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science magazine in 2002. He has also developed reverse genetics strategies using transposons in maize and Arabidopsis that have become powerful and widely used tools in plant genetics research. He was one of 13 scientists nationwide who was named an HHMI-GBMF Investigator last year.