I was born in Queens, New York, United States of America and grew up at Holbrook, Long Island, New York. For my bachelor’s degree, I went to State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse. I graduated my Ph.D. in Plant, Insect and Microbial Sciences on Spring 2019 with a focus of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, U.S.A. As a graduate research assistant in the Legume-Microbe Interactions Laboratory lead by Dr. Gary Stacey, my research was on the symbiotic interaction of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in legumes/non-legumes. I worked on a collaborative research project with other colleagues from George Washington University, Washington, DC and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Richland, WA U.S.A. Our project focuses on identifying unique, metabolic biomarkers associated with nitrogen fixation using Laser Ablation – Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (LAESI-MS) coupled with the 21 Telsa Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (21 T FTICR). This is a very new application technology that can measure metabolites in fresh, living tissues. The ultimate goal of my project was to use this technology to sample the metabolic content of single, plant cells. This LAESI-MS and 21 T FTICR method holds tremendous potential for use in further studies of plant-microbe interactions, as well as other plant processes.

Research Areas:
Applied Plant Biology, Bioenergy, Biotic Interactions, Metabolism


D. Velickovic, B. Agtuca, S. Stopka, A. Vertes, D. Koppenaal, L. Paša-Tolić, G. Stacey, C. Anderton. 2018. Observed metabolic asymmetry within soybean root nodules reflects unexpected complexity in rhizobacteria-legume metabolite exchange. The ISME journal, 1. DOI:

L. Song, B. Agtuca, M. Schueller, S. Jurisson, G. Stacey, R. Ferrieri. Relationship Between Carbon Mobilization and Root Growth Measured by Carbon-11 Tracer in Arabidopsis Starch Mutants. 2018. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation. 1-16. DOI:

C. Staley, A. Ferrieri, M. Tfaily, Y. Cui, R. Chu, P. Wang, J. Shaw, C. Ansong, H. Brewer, A. Norbeck, M. Markillie, F. do Amaral, T. Tuleski, T. Pellizzaro, B. Agtuca, R. Ferrieri, S. Tringe, L., G. Stacey, and M. Sadowsky. Diurnal cycling of rhizosphere bacterial communities is associated with shifts in carbon metabolism. 2017. Microbiome. 5.1:65. DOI: 10.1186/s40168-017-0287-1

S. Stopka, B. Agtuca, D. Koppenaal, L. Paša-Tolić, G. Stacey, A. Vertes, and C. Anderton. Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry with Ion Mobility Separation Reveals Metabolites in the Symbiotic Interactions of Soybean Roots and Rhizobia. 2017. The Plant Journal. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.13569

F. do Amaral, B. Agtuca, and G. Stacey. “Setaria Root-Microbe Interactions.” Genetics and Genomics of Setaria. Jan 2017. Springer International Publishing. 239-250. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-45105-3_14

V. Pankievicz, F. do Amaral, K. Santos, B. Agtuca, Y. Xu, M. Schueller, A. Arisi, M. Steffens, E. de Souza, F. Pedrosa, G. Stacey, and R. Ferrieri. Robust biological nitrogen fixation in a model grass–bacterial association. Mar. 2015. The Plant Journal. 81:6. 907-919. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12777

B. Agtuca, E. Rieger, K. Hilger, L. Song, C. Robert, M. Erb, A. Karve, and R. Ferrieri. Carbon-11 reveals opposing roles of auxin and salicylate in regulating leaf physiology, leaf metabolism and resource allocation patterns that impact root growth in Zea mays. June. 2014. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation. 33:2. 328-339. DOI: 10.1007/s00344-013-9379-8

 A. Ferrieri, B. Agtuca, H. Appel, R. Ferrieri, and J. Schultz. Temporal changes in allocation and partitioning of new carbon as 11C in Arabidopsis thaliana elicited by simulated herbivory: evidence that roots shape aboveground Responses. Feb. 2013. Plant Physiology. 161:2. 692-704. DOI:

Current Affiliations
Experience & Education