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Leonor Boavida

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Assistant Professor of Plant Biology
WSLR Room 232

 General Information

The union of a sperm with the egg is one of the most remarkable examples of cell-cell recognition in nature. In flowering plants, a double gametic fusion event (double fertilization) occurs between two sperm cells with each of the female gametes, the egg and the central cell leading to the formation of a zygote and the supporting nourishing endosperm within a seed. The distinctive efficacy of double fertilization relies on complex molecular interactions occurring at the membrane interface of both gamete pairs. Despite the discovery of several fertilization factors the molecular interactions and downstream signaling pathways leading to zygotic activation remain a biological mystery.

Our research uses genetic, cell biology, biochemical, proteomic, and functional genomics tools to investigate processes regulating:

1. Development and biology of plant gametes

2. Signal transduction pathways in gamete recognition and double fertilization

3. Contribution of sperm cell factors to zygotic activation

We are particularly interested on the role of Tetraspanins expressed in plant gametes. Tetraspanins are a group of membrane proteins recognized for their functions as critical mediators of cell-cell interactions including sperm-egg fusion in mammals.




The lab embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are committed in creating a safe space for research and training of a new generation of plant scientists. We welcome all students devoted and inspired by our research mission.


Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

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