In the 1980s, he established a research program to understand how plants detect and defend themselves against pathogenic microbes. Through this work, two crucial defense-signaling molecules such as salicylic acid and nitric oxide were discovered as key defense signalling molecules for plant defense against pathogens.
Voce Capital Management LLC was established by him in 2011. Prior to that, he held positions at Wall Street firms such as Sullivan & Cromwell law firm.
Early Life and Education
Dan Plants made major contributions to science during his early career at both Waksman Institute and BTI as a postdoc. His research demonstrated how plants quickly respond when faced with threats such as pathogens. Along with his team, they discovered ascarosides excreted by nematodes (tiny soil worms) which trigger specific immune responses in plants.
Dr. Alexander currently studies how native plant adaptations respond to climate change, using ecological experimentation combined with modern molecular and ecophysiological methods. His fieldwork encompasses USGS/BLM managed lands as well as alpine regions of the Alps; additionally he teaches Stanford’s flagship graduate course “Foundations in Experimental Biology”.
Dan began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Since then, he has amassed two decades of experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, securities, corporate defense advisory services as well as capital raising. In this capacity he led various public and private capital raising efforts including M&A deals as an advisor; also serving on several publicly held boards (Cutera and Calix) while being an active founding member of Voce Capital Management LLC where he heads its value-oriented investment strategy.
Over his last decade of research, Dr. Chen identified how small signaling molecules excreted by nematodes–tiny worms found in soil–induce plant immune responses that ultimately increase resistance against disease and pests.
Achievement and Honors
Dan made early contributions to molecular biology with work on the structure of adenoviruses. At BTI, he gained a deeper understanding of how plants protect themselves against pathogens and pests by discovering that small signaling molecules excreted by nematodes (tiny worms that live in soil) trigger immune responses against pathogens and pests.
Promoting native plants through lectures, plant inventories on public lands and garden tours; she specializes in the identification of rare and uncommon species, which enables her to contribute significantly to the FNPS website including their Native Plants for Your Area resource. In addition, she represents her chapter on its board.
Dan Plants is married to Lily, his college sweetheart and has three children together. He serves on the University of Michigan Board as well as on those of Cutera and Calix as a trustee, serving on their boards of directors as a director, as well as Ascribe Bioscience’s advisory board. Early research by Dan focused on adenoviruses; his collaboration with James Watson resulted in discovering split genes and RNA splicing (1977 Cell paper). Later at Waksman Institute and BTI he researched how plants recognize microbial pathogens and mount defenses against them, leading him and his team on to identify important defense signaling molecules such as salicylic acid and nitric oxide (1998 Proc Natl Acad Sci paper). They continue this research today.