Tufts University, B.S. Biology, 1985
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Ph.D. Microbiology, 1993
1) Plant phloem sap has long been known to carry photosynthetic sugars over long distances. More recently it has become clear that a myriad of other molecules travel in the phloem sap, including proteins, mRNAs, siRNAs, hormones and other potential signaling molecules. The mechanisms that determine the dynamic contents of the phloem sap, as well as the function of these molecules, is very poorly understood. We are working on methods for efficiently sampling phloem sap in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, while profiling phloem sap proteins under stress and non-stress conditions.
2) Plants can regenerate entire new organisms from small tissue explants. The root pericycle, a cell population that normally gives rise to lateral roots, is particularly good at regeneration, responding to hormones in tissue culture by proliferating, losing differentiation markers, and gaining competence to generate shoots. We are looking at the role of epigenetic regulation in this process. This project attempts to understand the mechanism that allows root pericycle cell identity to be meta-stable in the presence of hormones, and tests the hypothesis that key genes uniquely lose epigenetic marks in this cell type.
3) The only organisms as good at regeneration as plants are the Cnidarians (i.e. sea stars, corals, anemones, jellyfish). We have recently initiated a new project to study wound healing and regeneration in the jellyfish cousin Clytia hemisphaerica.