Welcome to the Plant Growth Control lab!

We study how plants control their growth.

Plants grow throughout their life by producing cells at the growing tips of shoots and roots in meristems and by secondary growth (in cambial tissues) that thickens their body.  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 evolved to adapt their growth behaviour 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 vigour and productivity.  We are particularly interested in environmental conditions that can lead to abiotic stress-induced loss of growth activity and capacity. 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 questions:

  • How is root growth affected by the levels of phosphate available in the soil?
  • How can root system architecture be improved to enhance crop performance?
  • 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.