A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Soltis studies plant diversity, with emphasis on the origin and evolution of flowering plants, plant genome evolution and conservation genetics. She uses genomic methods, natural history collections and computational modeling to understand patterns and processes of plant evolution and identify conservation priorities.
She is the founding director of the UF Biodiversity Institute and a member of the UF Genetics Institute.
She has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and oversees a diverse lab of more than a dozen graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and routinely trains at least five undergraduate students per semester.
Soltis has received more than $37 million in support for her research on the evolutionary history and genomics of flowering plants. She became the lead investigator on the project that launched the new Genetic Resources Repository at the Florida Museum and is one of the principal investigators for iDigBio, a project that made UF the hub for the NSF-funded program to digitize the collections of all U.S. natural history museums. This led to a $27-million award that has brought widespread recognition to UF for its leadership role in bioinformatics. She is also a co-principal investigator of a $7-million Department of Energy project to pinpoint the genes that allow certain plants to form symbioses with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and engineer this genetic pathway into other plants for food and fuel.
Soltis earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Central College and a doctorate degree in botany from the University of Kansas. She joined UF in 2000, after serving on the faculty of Washington State University for 14 years.