Noel Michele Holbrook is the Charles Bullard Professor of Forestry in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. Her research focuses on the physiology of plants: specifically how plants pull water from the soil and how they capture energy from the sun. To investigate such questions, her work integrates field and laboratory studies. Intrigued by unusual and distinctive plants, her work has taken her around the globe to study strangler fig trees in the llanos of South America, salt-secreting shrubs in the Atacama desert, baobabs in Madagascar, and mangrove forests in Malaysia. In Tanzania, she looks forward to discussing how climate and vegetation influence the diversity and behavior of animal populations.
Noel received her undergraduate degree from Harvard ('82), followed by a M.Sc. in Botany from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. She joined the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology in 1995 as an assistant professor, where she has been a member of the faculty ever since. At Harvard she teaches courses in introductory plant biology, as well as freshman and graduate seminars on plant physiology in relation to world food systems and climate change.