We are interested in the development and evolution of floral organs. Diversification of transcription factor function underlies much of the variation observed between species through differences. Many of the main regulators of floral organ development have been identified, however, their molecular functions are poorly understood. In addition, it is unclear how the variation in the floral organ form and function relates to the genetic information that is hard-wired in plant genomes.
We use a combination of techniques to understand how transcription factors control floral organ development and to understand how their functions varies between species. We are also particularly interested in understanding more about the significance and control of floral organ photosynthesis, which is an important source of photoassimilates for the developing fruits and seeds.
If one or more of these topics interest you or if you are more interested in the application of specific techniques, even ones not listed below then please get in touch.
Floral organ development
We are interested in the specification, differentiation, and growth of floral organs. In particular, we are interested in understanding how transcription factors coordinate these processes. Arabidopsis thaliana is our main workhorse but we are also establishing several other plant species to use in comparative approaches.
Floral organ photosynthesis
Floral organs are crucial for reproduction but they also perform important roles in generating energy for the developing seeds through photosynthesis. Most of our knowledge relating to photosynthesis is derived from research on leaves. We aim to characterize floral organ photosynthesis in many species and to dissect the molecular mechanisms that control it.
Standard techniques for molecular biology (e.g. PCR, cloning, qRT-PCR)
Genetic analysis including screens and utilizing CRISPR-Cas9
Functional genomics including ChIP-Seq, RNA-Seq, FACS, and single-cell genomics
Measurements of photosynthesis including gas exchange and chlorophyll content and fluorescence
Confocal and scanning electron microscopy