Dr. Kochian received his B.S. in Botany from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Davis, in 1983 under the direction of Dr. William Lucas. After 1 year as a postdoctoral associate and lecturer at UC Davis, Dr. Kochian joined USDA-ARS in 1985 as a Plant Physiologist at the U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY.
In 1997, Dr. Kochian became the Research Leader and then Location Coordinator (2003) of the U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory.
With regards to Cornell University affiliations, Dr. Kochian joined the faculty in the Section of Plant Biology at Cornell as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 1986, and the Department of Soil, Crop and Atmospheric Science in 1987.
Currently, Dr. Kochian is an Adjunct Full Professor in both the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and is a member of the graduate fields of Plant Biology, Crop and Soil Sciences, and Environmental Toxicology. He also is an Adjunct Scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. Dr. Kochian has been the thesis advisor for a number of Ph.D. students in all three of these fields.
Dr. Kochian's research program deals with fundamental aspects of plant mineral nutrition and mineral ion transport with emphasis on improving the accumulation of nutritionally important mineral nutrients in plants (Fe, Zn, Ca) and minimizing the entry of toxic heavy metals (Cd, Pb) into the food chain. Additionally, Dr. Kochian's research group is investigating the phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soils, both from a basic and applied perspective.
Another related component of Dr. Kochian's research deals with plant responses to environmental stress, with a primary focus on mechanisms of aluminum toxicity and tolerance for crop plants growing on acid soils.
Dr. Kochian's research approach involves the interdisciplinary application of methodologies from molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, physiology and membrane biophysics.