Plant Meristems Group
Plants are able to regenerate whole body parts like roots and shoots with
relative ease because they demonstrate amazing cellular plasticity.
Masters of dedifferentiation, plants not only retain pools of stem cells
throughout their lives, but also create new stem cells in response to
developmental and environmental cues. My primary interest is in the role
of parenchyma cells in shaping large woody plants - namely, through their
ability to dedifferentiate and generate new meristems in response to
wounding, and during the transition to secondary growth.
Because plant cells are cemented together throughout development (there is
no cell migration in plants), coordinated differentiation and
specialization of cells requires cell-to-cell communication. The directed
cell-to-cell movement of the plant hormone auxin (indole-3-acetic acid) is
known to regulate many aspects of plant growth and cellular
differentiation. Current research in my group is centered on the
potential role of auxin as a source of 'positional information' in the
origin of new stem cells through the dedifferentiation of parenchyma.
Because I focus on woody tissue (i.e., secondary growth), in which plant
cells have extremely thick cell walls, much of this work requires the
development and/or modification of techniques in plant microscopy and
molecular biology. I'm especially interested in developing methods to
image live cells in woody tissue.
(Under constructionSorry for the inconvenience, but we're just getting started!
- Probing the limits of cellular dedifferentiation: xylem parenchyma as latent stem cells
- Exploring new methods to detect auxin in situ
- Live cell imaging in plants: beyond Arabidopsis