Articles

"I started to wonder if I could design a course that encouraged freshmen to recognize the beauty and wealth of trees on campus? Could I meld my curiosity about the trees and rejuvenate my rusty background in botany to help create a resource for the community?" Devaki Bhaya writes in Pacific Horticulture about her experience designing and teaching a class on the trees of the Stanford University campus. More 
Stanford, CA— Like humans, plants are surrounded by and closely associated with microbes. The majority of these microbes are beneficial, but some can cause devastating disease. Maintaining the balance between them is critical. Plants feed these microbes, and it’s thought that they do so just enough to allow the good ones to grow and to prevent the bad ones from gaining strength. This system of microbe feeding is mediated by proteins called sugar...
Washington, D.C.—The pervasive plant fiber cellulose, which makes up cell walls, represents most of the biomass on Earth and is used to create everything from textiles and building materials, to renewable biofuels. Primary cell walls determine the shape of the plant, while secondary cell walls—most of the cellulose—are laid down later to strengthen the structure and vascular system that transports water and nutrients. Now scientists, including...
Two researchers, Martin Jonikas of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology and Zhao Zhang of the Department of Embryology, have been awarded the New Innovator and Early Independence Awards, respectively, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Traditionally, NIH has supported research projects, not individuals. However, “to identify scientists with ideas that have the potential for high impact, but that may be too novel, span too diverse a...
Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman teamed up with engineers at Stanford University (including Fritz Prinz and graduate students Zubin Huang and  Witchukorn Phuthong) to develop the use of atomic force microscopy to determine the structures of photosynthetic complexes within the spinach chlorophyll-producing compartment (called the chloroplast)  at nanometer resolution. These complexes are vital to life on Earth since they convert the sun’s light energy...
On SFGate: Carnegie's José Dinneny uses firefly proteins to light up certain plants and reveal root system behavior. More
Stanford, CA— Plants form a vast network of below-ground roots that search soil for needed resources. The structure and function of this root network can be highly adapted to particular environments, such as desert soils where plants like Mesquite develop tap roots capable of digging 50 meters deep to capture precious water resources.  Excavation of root systems reveals these kinds of adaptations but is laborious, time consuming, and does not...
Stanford, CA—Wolf B. Frommer, Director of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, has been elected as a member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, one of the world’s oldest national academies. Leopoldina has a membership of about 1,500 outstanding scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other nations. The organization is “dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humankind and to the goal of shaping a...
In 1903 the Carnegie Institution established a Desert Laboratory to explore the properties of desert plants. From that humble stone building in Tucson, Arizona, eventually emerged our spectacular Department of Plant Biology on the Stanford University campus and, by descent, our Department of Global Ecology at the same site. The Carnegie scientists who came to Tucson had a central goal of understanding how desert plants manage in seemingly...