Rob Martienssen is a Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator in Plant Biology. Dr. Martienssen obtained his PhD at the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge University. He received his postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley, and joined the faculty at Cold Spring Harbor in 1989. Research in Dr. Martienssen’s laboratory focuses on epigenetic mechanisms that shape and regulate the genome, and their impact on development and inheritance. His work on transposable elements in plants and repetitive sequences in fission yeast revealed a link between heterochromatin and RNA interference for which he received the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Award in 2003. Professor Martienssen was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006, and an associate member of EMBO in 2011.