Figured 'Curly' Poplar

 Molecular Tree Physiology Laboratory 

Molecular Tree Physiology
Dr. Rick Meilan uses molecular tools to investigate the genetic mechanisms by which key aspects of tree growth and development are controlled. He is also attempting to domesticate and add value to various tree species by genetically engineering them to express genes that impart environmentally beneficial and commercially important traits. Active research projects include efforts to insert genes that control flowering, as a means of transgene confinement; insect (Emerald Ash Borer) resistance; herbicide tolerance; and lignin composition. He and his group are also trying to identify genes that regulate the transition from sapwood to heartwood, the formation of figured wood, and the initiation of lateral and adventitious roots.