|Jody Banks||Plant Molecular and Developmental Biology |
My research at Purdue focused on two questions. How is the fern Pteris vittata able to tolerate and hyperaccumulate arsenic in its fronds, and how is the sex of the Ceratopteris richardii gametophyte regulated?
|Leonor Boavida||Plant Cell and Developmental Biology|
Plant Gamete Biology and Fertilization. Interested in both cell surface and intracellular signaling pathways mediating gamete interactions, fertilization, and zygotic activation in plants.
|Nicholas Carpita||Plant Cell Biology |
Dr. Nick Carpita’s research objectives are to characterize the structural and functional architecture of the plant cell wall, to understand the biochemical mechanisms of biosynthesis of its polysaccharides, and to identify the genes that encode the molecular machinery that synthesizes these components. Specific projects include identifying and characterizing cell wall mutants in Arabidopsis and maize by Fourier transform infrared spectra. Potential mutants identified by this novel spectroscopic method are characterized genetically to determine heritability. A systematic protocol was devised to use biochemical, cytological, and spectroscopic methods to characterize the function of cell-wall biogenesis-related genes in Arabidopsis and maize identified through the mutant screen. Dr. Carpita’s group is classifying mutants by artificial neural networks as a database to classify genes of unknown function. They also develop methods to investigate the biosynthesis and topology of cellulose and the mixed-linkage (1→3),(1→4)-β-D-glucan in maize. They use proteomic and immunological approaches to identify the catalytic machinery and its associated polypeptides. We have also begun a program to characterize the regulation by microRNAs and naturally occurring small interfering RNAs of cellulose synthases and suites of similarly regulated genes in networks that form primary and secondary walls. Finally, we desire to apply our knowledge of cell wall biology to solve practical problems in agriculture. Understanding wall composition and architecture and the regulation of the synthesis of its components is an essential tool in enhancing biomass quality and quantity for biofuel production.
|Zhixiang Chen||Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions |
Dr. Zhixiang Chen’s research interests are in two related areas of molecular plant stress responses. The first area concerns transcriptional regulation of plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. The second research area deals with protein quality control, trafficking and degradation pathways including autophagy and multivesicular bodies in plant stress responses.
|Peter Goldsbrough||Plant Molecular Biology |
Dr. Peter Goldsbrough’s research program is focused on two multigene families in Arabidopsis - metallothioneins (MTs) and glutathione S-transferases (GSTs). Metallothioneins are small metal binding proteins encoded by a small gene family. Recent studies with MT-deficient mutants indicates that MTs are involved in the accumulation of copper and zinc in various tissues including roots and shoots, and the redistribution of these metals during senescence and seed development. The primary reaction catalyzed by GSTs is conjugation of glutzthione to a toxic substrate. We have been studying how herbicide safeners induce the expression of GSTs and other components of the xenobiotic detoxification system, and how GSTs can be used to enhance herbicide tolerance in transgenic plants.
Dr. Goldsbrough is currently not accepting graduate students.
|Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi||Plant Biology|
Dr. Iyer-Pascuzzi’s research investigates the mechanisms that plant roots use to perceive and respond to the environment. There are two primary areas of research in the lab. The first is focused on understanding the molecular basis of plant resistance to bacterial wilt, caused by Ralstonia solanacearum. Ralstonia is a devastating soil-borne pathogen that first infects root systems. Despite the devastation it causes, little is known regarding the networks that underlie resistance or susceptibility, and root responses to R. solanacearum are unclear. Using both tomato and Arabidopsis, we focus on understanding resistance responses at three levels of root development: root cell types, root developmental stages, and root architecture. Current questions include, what are the spatio-temporal dynamics of pathogen invasion in resistant and susceptible genotypes? How are different root cell types and developmental stages affected by bacterial wilt? What are the gene regulatory networks involved in the response to bacterial wilt within each cell type? We use a combination of cell biology, genetics, and genomics approaches to address these questions. The major goal of this research is to identify novel forms of resistance to bacterial wilt. Our second area of research is centered around the role of Nodule Inception-Like Proteins (NLPs) in root development. NLP proteins are a unique family of transcription factors found in a wide diversity of plant species. We are studying the molecular mechanisms through which these proteins mediate root development and stress responses in Arabidopsis.
|Gurmukh Johal||Molecular Pathology and Genetics|
There are two research foci of the Johal lab. The first is to explore mechanisms of disease and resistance in maize by employing real diseases, as well as a collection of mutants called disease lesion-mimic mutants. The second focus is to identify genes and genetic networks that regulate the architecture of the maize plant. A combination of genetic, genomic, molecular and physiological approaches is used for these explorations. In addition, the Johal lab is constantly in the hunt to improvise genetic tools needed to generate or detect agronomically important variation in diverse germplasms, both elite and natural.
|Sharon Kessler||Plant Biology|
The Kessler Lab studies the cell and molecular mechanisms that control pollination and seed yield in flowering plants.
|Damon Lisch||Plant Biology|
Dr. Lisch is interested in the regulation and evolution of plant transposable elements and the role that transposable elements have played in the evolution of plant gene regulation. Transposable elements, or transposons, are, by far, the most dynamic part of the eukaryotic genome, and the majority, often the vast majority, of plant genomes are composed of these genomic parasites. Although they are an important source of genetic novelty, transposons can also be a significant source of detrimental mutations. Because of this, plants (and indeed all eukaryotes) have evolved a sophisticated “immune system” whose function is to detect and epigenetically silence them. Dr. Lisch’s research centers on determining the means by which transposons are detected and then maintained in a silenced state and the effect that this process has had on the trajectory of plant evolution.
|Dr. Scott McAdam||Plant Evolutionary Physiology|
Evolution of drought tolerance and response in plants, from stomatal behavior to xylem physiology and hormones
|Gordon McNickle||Plant Ecology|
Research in my group investigates interactions among plants and other organisms as an evolutionary game. Research in the lab involves a mixture of mathematical theory to generate hypotheses, and empirical work to test those hypotheses, and ranges in scale from cells to ecosystems.
|Tesfaye Mengiste||Molecular Genetics of Plant Immunity to Fungal Pathogens|
Research in Mengiste lab focuses on molecular-genetics of fungal resistance in model and crop plants.
|Michael Mickelbart||Plant Biology|
The goal of the lab is to identify and characterize genetic determinants and traits that allow plants to acclimate to low-water environments.
|Christopher Oakley||Ecological and evolutionary genetics of plants|
The Oakley lab is broadly interested in the ecological and evolutionary genetics of plants. One main focus of our research is the genetic basis of local adaptation. Local genotypes are often found to grow, survive, and/or reproduce better than non-local genotypes, suggesting that adaptation to one environment is costly in other environments (fitness tradeoffs across environments). Despite much empirical study, little is known about the mechanisms and genetic basis of local adaptation. Using locally adapted populations of Arabidopsis thaliana from near the northern and southern edge of the native rage, we investigate the genetic basis of local adaptation, adaptive traits (e.g., freezing tolerance), and genetic tradeoffs (fitness tradeoffs attributable to individual loci). We have developed a variety of genetic stocks that we use in field and growth chamber experiments in concert with genetic and genomic approaches.
A second main focus of our research is the consequences of genetic drift for adaptation and population persistence. A number of factors common in natural populations (e.g., a history of population bottlenecks) can increase both the chance loss of beneficial mutations and the chance fixation of deleterious mutations. Heterosis, the increased fitness in crosses between populations relative to fitness within populations, is thought to be due in part to the masking of these fixed deleterious recessive alleles in the heterozygous state. We are investigating the geographic pattern and genetic basis of heterosis in natural populations of A. thaliana to study the balance between selection and genetic drift in nature.
|Robert Pruitt||Plant Molecular Biology|
Bacterial interactions with plants, with a particular focus on human pathogens that contaminate fresh produce and how that affects food safety. The goals of this research are to understand how pathogenic bacteria are introduced into the plant system and what bacterial, plant and environmental factors allow them to survive and proliferate.
|Christopher Staiger||Plant Cell Biology|
The Staiger lab uses state-of-the art imaging and quantitative cell biology approaches to investigate how a dynamic network of cytoskeletal filaments coordinates cell growth and response to phytopathogens.
|Dan Szymanski||Cell Biology|
The use of multivariate live cell imaging and finite element computational modeling to discover how plant cells dynamically reorganize the cytoskeleton and the cell wall during cell morphogenesis. Another major project in the lab is the development of a proteomics pipeline that can be used to broadly discover and analyze protein complexes in both model and crop species.
|Gyeongmee Yoon||Plant Biology|
Dr. Yoon’s research focuses on unraveling the molecular mechanisms that control plant hormone ethylene function and its role in plant stress responses.
Chunhua Zhang’s lab uses a combination of chemical genetics and live cell imaging approaches to understand the mechanisms of plant vesicle trafficking.
|Yun Zhou||Plant Cell and Developmental Biology|
We explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms in control of meristem development and stem cell homeostasis in Arabidopsis and in ferns, using both experimental and computational approaches.