Associate Professor, Cornell University
How do plant organs reach the right size and shape?
Abstract: Development is remarkably reproducible, producing organs with the same size, shape, and function repeatedly from individual to individual. Yet, these reproducible organs are composed of highly variable cells. My laboratory focuses on the mechanisms that produce both cellular heterogeneity and organ robustness. We use a combination of genetics, live imaging, computational image processing, mechanical assays, and computational modeling to determine how robustness emerges from the dynamics of cell division, cell growth, mechanics, and gene expression. We primarily use Arabidopsis sepals as a model system because sepals are relatively unresponsive to the environment, there are four sepals on each flower (so robustness can be assessed easily), and sepals are accessible for imaging and manipulation. We are also beginning to compare sepal development with other Arabidopsis lateral organs such as leaves and fruit. We find similar basipetal growth patterns in sepals and leaves, but a distinct temporal separation of cell division and expansion in fruit.
Host: Postdoctoral Fellows