Research

LIFE IN A BOX

As a group, we focus a large effort on understanding how shapes are generated during plant growth & development. This entails detailing the processes of shape generation, describing the changes in cell wall mechanics and chemistry that accompany shape generation, and dissecting the underlying molecular control mechanisms for these changes. 

We are also pioneering investigations into the relationship between cell walls and development in algae, with a major focus on brown algae.

Ongoing research questions:

  1. Growing ‘Up‘: How is directional growth in seedlings achieved?
  2. Making Waves: How does epidermal cell undulation arise?
  3. What’s Gel Got to Do With It: Comparative cell wall mechanics in plants and algae
  4. Toughing it Out: How cell walls protect during desiccation

 

THE CELL WALL AS A MATERIAL
We are also actively involved in understanding how the material properties of the cell wall, a biological composite material, contribute to its ability to control plant  & algal growth and development.
In order to really understand what is happening, we need to get a grasp on how the cell wall behaves as a material, what components and structures contribute to which behaviours, and how these behaviours affect physical processes such as extension, new material deposition, and diffusion.

Ongoing research questions:

  1. Who Are You: how do specific wall components relate to wall mechanics?
  2. What Are You: What new tools can help us understand wall mechanics better?

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