The Morton Arboretum Strengthens Science Staff with Hire of New Tree Root Biologist

 Michael "Luke" McCormack, Ph.D.
Michael (Luke) McCormack, Ph.D.
November 20, 2018

The Morton Arboretum welcomes Michael (Luke) McCormack, Ph.D., as a Tree Root Biologist in the Center for Tree Science.

In his new role, McCormack will focus on applied root biology, with an emphasis on understanding tree root development in both natural and urban ecosystems. As a woody plant ecologist, his goal is to fundamentally change how below ground systems are perceived in both basic and applied research communities, highlighting the importance of root processes to the overall health, resilience, and productivity of forest ecosystems.  McCormack began collaborating with the Arboretum several months ago, on a strategy development meeting for the research partnership with the city of Shanghai, and in workshops organized by the Chicago Region Trees Initiative.

“Luke’s interest and ability to form diverse, productive collaborations across disciplines will benefit the long-term goals of The Morton Arboretum as we work to address increasingly complex challenges faced by trees in both natural and built settings,” said Chuck Cannon, director of the Center for Tree Science at The Morton Arboretum. “Given that Luke has years of experience working in China, he will play an important role in that critical international partnership.”

McCormack obtained his Ph.D. in Ecology and Biogeochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He served as a postdoctoral research associate with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, was most recently a postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and has over a decade of experience working in diverse forest settings, and with different collaborative groups and cultures.

About the Center for Tree Science at The Morton Arboretum

The Center for Tree Science at The Morton Arboretum brings together experts from botanical gardens, universities, government, industry, and other organizations to participate in collaborations that generate new knowledge and provide training to address key challenges facing trees in urban areas and in the wild. The Center for Tree Science supports collaborations through research projects, grants, fellowships and internships as well as through professional courses, workshops and conferences. Experts at the Center for Tree Science research, exchange ideas, and use their collective achievements and strengths to increase research, training, and funding opportunities for tree science. The Arboretum’s Growing Brilliantly campaign raised more than $63 million over five years to support various initiatives, including the Center for Tree Science.