Articles

Stanford, CA—All living cells are held together by membranes, which provide a barrier to the transport of nutrients. They are also the communication platform connecting the outside world to the cell’s interior control centers. Thousands of proteins reside in these cell membranes and control the flow of select chemicals, which move across the barrier and mediate the flux of nutrients and information. Almost all of these pathways work...
Stanford, CA—Plants spend their entire lifetime rooted to one spot. When faced with a bad situation, such as a swarm of hungry herbivores or a viral outbreak, they have no option to flee but instead must fight to survive. What is the key to their defense? Chemistry. Thanks to this ongoing conflict, plants have evolved into amazing chemists, capable of synthesizing tens of thousands of compounds from thousands of genes. These chemicals,...
Stanford, CA—Floods and droughts are increasingly in the news, and climate experts say their frequency will only go up in the future. As such, it is crucial for scientists to learn more about how these extreme events affect plants in order to prepare for and combat the risks to food security that could result. Like animals, plants have hormones that send chemical signals between its cells relaying information about the plant’s...
Stanford, CA— Photosynthesis provides fixed carbon and energy for nearly all life on Earth, yet many aspects of this fascinating process remain mysterious. For example, little is known about how it is regulated in response to changes in light intensity. More fundamentally, we do not know the full list of the parts of the molecular machines that perform photosynthesis in any organism. A type of single-cell green algae called Chlamydomonas...
Stanford, CA— Evolution is based on diversity, and sexual reproduction is key to creating a diverse population that secures competitiveness in nature. Plants had to solve a problem: they needed to find ways to spread their genetic material. Flying pollinators—insects, birds, and bats—were nature’s solution. Charles Darwin’s “abominable mystery” highlighted the coincidence of flowering plant and insect diversification about 120 million years...

The Nitrogen Kick-Off meeting was held in San Francisco, February 27-March 1, 2014. Devaki Bhaya of the Carnegie Institution was the local host for the event. The meeting was jointly funded by the NSF (US) and BBSRC (UK), with the long term vision of addressing the challenge of providing nitrogen to meet the growing global demand for food.

Stanford, CA— As every gardner knows, nitrogen is crucial for a plant’s growth. But nitrogen absorption is inefficient. This means that on the scale of food crops, adding significant levels of nitrogen to the soil through fertilizer presents a number of problems, particularly river and groundwater pollution. As a result, finding a way to improve nitrogen uptake in agricultural products could improve yields and decrease risks to environmental...
Stanford, CA—Carnegie’s Li-Quing Chen, recipient of a Tansley Medal for Excellence in Plant Science, announced late last year, is honored with an editorial and minireview in New Phytologist this month. The journal’s Tansley medal is awarded each year in recognition of “outstanding contribution to research in plant science by an individual in the early stages of their career.” Each recipient authors a minireview about the subject area of...
Each year, the journal The Scientist ranks academic research institutions across the US. This year, Plant Biology is among the top 5. We will make every effort to keep this place among the most attractive workplaces in academia, which means to continue to thrive for a supporting a creative and highly productive work environment. http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/36737/title/Best-Places-to-Work-Academia-2013/