Molecular Genetics

The discipline of plant molecular biology uses genetic, genomic, biochemical, cell biological, and computational approaches to understand plant growth, physiology, and development at a molecular level.

Personnel

Research in Dr. Bar-Peled’s group aims to understand, at the molecular level, the roles of complex glycans in living organisms. We are interested in the roles of cell surface glycans (“sugar coated polymers”) in cell-cell recognition, pathogenicity, and communication between micro-organisms and their plant or animal hosts. In addition, we are…

Plant genome structure and evolution, especially the nature of rearrangements and the contributions of transposable elements. The relationship between genome structure/evolution and gene function. Genetic diversity and its use in under-utilized crops of the developing world. The rapid evolution of complex disease resistance loci in plants.…

Our primary focus is plant evolutionary genetics and genomics. More specifically, we're studying the genetic basis of evolutionary divergence within the sunflower family (i.e., the Compositae or the Asteraceae). We also maintain an interest in the ecological and evolutionary impact of transgene escape from genetically modified crops into their…

The Dawe lab studies genome structure and cell division in maize, focusing on the biology of centromeres.  Students and postdocs work at all levels of genetics, including traditional genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, epigenetics and bioinformatics. We also work intensively with microscopes to visualize cell division using fixed and…

The research in my lab is targeted on enhancing our understanding of the organization of grass genomes, in particular wheat, millets and switchgrass, a biofuel crop. This is done through genetic and genomic analyses in the target species themselves, as well as through comparative analyses between crop and sequenced model genomes.

Chromatin structure and function; Epigenetics; Eukaryotic genome stability; Histone H1

We are interested in understanding epigenetic and chromatin-based mechanisms that contribute to eukaryotic genome function, genome organization, and genome stability. In the nucleus, chromosomal DNA is packaged with histone and non-histone proteins…

Plants, just like animals, start life as a single cell. This cell and its daughters then need to lay down the reference points required for realizing a complex body plan. We would like to understand the molecular mechanics of this process: which cues do plant embryos read-out and how do they interpret them to derive basic positional values,…

The septin cytoskeleton in Aspergillus nidulans. Septins are less familiar and less well-understood than actin and tubulins because they were discovered more recently. But, it has become very clear in the last 5 years that septins play roles as diverse and important as those of actin and tubulin.  My lab is investigating the cell biology,…

My lab studies intrinsic genetic properties that make plants different from other organisms and from one another. In particular, selected plants have become crops because of unique attributes that also make them valuable as botanical models. Crop genetics thus offers the opportunity to increase basic scientific knowledge and apply it to…

Population Epigenomics and Mechanisms of Epigenetic Inheritance

We are interested in determining how phenotypic plasticity and diversity are driven by natural and spontaneous epigenetic variation. Recent advances in genomic technologies are enabling acquisition of sequence-level data at an unprecedented rate and resolution. As a result…

My main research interests focus on how to promote active learning and critical thinking in large introductory biology classes, and on the evolution of light signals in North American fireflies.

A fundamental goal of evolutionary biology is to explain how populations become reproductively isolated species. Does speciation occur in allopatry or do populations diverge in the presence of some gene flow? What is the genetic basis of reproductive isolation? What are the evolutionary forces that create and maintain variation in speciation…

phenylpropanoid metabolism growth-defense tradeoff gene family evolution and functional diservification functional genomics metabolite engineering

My research interests center on uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of secondary cell walls and the transcriptional regulation of secondary cell wall biosynthesis in plants.

The current research in my lab is directed to understand the establishment and maintenance of histone modifications in plants, their roles in regulating gene expression and development, and how they have contributed to the evolution of gene and genome functions. We use Arabidopsis and rice as model systems and employ a wide range of approaches…