We study how plants control their growth.

Plants grow throughout their life by producing cells at the growing tips of shoots and roots and by secondary growth that thickens their body.  These activities are mediated by cells organized into meristems and by the cambium.  Our lab focuses on meristems, and specifically on how cell division and proliferation is controlled in meristems.

Plants evolved in environments that constantly change, and therefore have been selected to adapt their growth behavior to this dynamic.  When the magnitude of environmental change exceeds the capacity of homeostatic regulation of metabolism, abiotic stress can ensue, leading to reduced plant vigor and productivity.  This is a serious issue: many crops produce on average only 20-40% of their genetically encoded yield potential, due to abiotic stress.  

Our lab aims to better understand how these adverse conditions limit growth.

We are particularly interested in the following three questions:

  • How is root growth affected by the levels of phosphate available in the soil?
  • How does plant growth respond to DNA damage?
  • How do changes to growth activity affect cell differentiation at the meristem boundary?

If you are interested to develop answers to these questions, please get in touch.  We have opportunities to perform research at many levels.