Katelyn is a Lecturer in the Civic, Liberal, and Global Education (COLLEGE) program. She earned a B.S. in Biology at Stanford and completed an honors thesis on her research in the Fire Lab using the nematode C. elegans to examine metal toxicity in the presence of the chelator, glyphosate. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Genetics from the Stanford School of Medicine, studying stomatal development in the temperate grass model and smaller relative to wheat, Brachypodium distachyon, in the Bergmann Lab. Stomata are pores on the surfaces of leaves that regulate gas and water exchange. They are essential in managing the plant’s nutrient circulation, temperature, and water use efficiency, and therefore have important implications for drought tolerance. Katelyn’s research focused on characterizing members of a well-conserved transcription factor family involved in stomatal differentiation using genetic approaches to understand how grasses’ unique stomata are formed, including the creation of cross-species rescues to test for functional conservation across monocots and dicots.

Katelyn is also passionate about science communication and teaching, and has organized science outreach events through outlets such as Stanford’s Splash, Taste of Science, and Nightlife at the Cal Academy; tutored at the Hume Writing Center and for the Biology honors thesis writing class; and served as an Indigenous research mentor for first year Native students in Frosh Fellows. When she’s not in the lab or classroom, Katelyn can be found gardening, fishing, playing board games, or exploring the great outdoors.

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Stanford Introductory Studies - Civic, Liberal, and Global Education

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • Stomatal development in the grasses: lessons from models and crops (and crop models). The New phytologist McKown, K. H., Bergmann, D. C. 2020


    When plants emerged from their aquatic origins to colonize land, they needed to avoid desiccation while still enabling gas and water exchange with the environment. The solution was the development of a waxy cuticle interrupted by epidermal pores, known as stomata. Despite the importance of stomata in plant physiology and their contribution to global water and carbon cycles, our knowledge of the genetic basis of stomatal development is limited mostly to the model dicot, Arabidopsis thaliana. This limitation is particularly troublesome when evaluating grasses, whose members represent our most agriculturally-significant crops. Grass stomatal development follows a trajectory strikingly different from Arabidopsis and their uniquely shaped 4-celled stomatal complexes are especially responsive to environmental inputs. Thus, understanding the development and regulation of these efficient complexes is of particular interest for the purposes of crop engineering. This review focuses on genetic regulation of grass stomatal development and prospects for the future, highlighting discoveries enabled by parallel comparative investigations in cereal crops and related genetic model species such as Brachypodium distachyon.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/nph.16450

    View details for PubMedID 31985072

  • Grass stomata. Current biology : CB McKown, K. H., Bergmann, D. C. 2018; 28 (15): R814–R816


    Stomata are adjustable valves through which gas and water exchange occur in plant leaves. Here, McKown and Bergmann highlight the essential function and features of stomata from grasses.

    View details for PubMedID 30086309