José R. Dinneny, PI

José grew up in Reseda, CA in the former orange orchards of the San Fernando Valley. He got his BS from UC Berkeley in Plant Biology and Genetics in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. He got his research start as an undergraduate intern in the lab of Robert L. Fischer. He went to UC San Diego to get his PhD working in the labs of Detlef Weigel at the Salk Institute for Biological Science and Martin Yanofsky in the Division of Biology, UCSD. His work focused on the cloning and characterization of JAGGED and NUBBIN in flower and fruit development. He then went to Duke University to do his post-doctoral studies with Philip Benfey. There he utilized Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) to develop the first tissue-specific map of transcriptional changes occurring during abiotic stress. José established his independent lab at the Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory (TLL) in Singapore with a joint appointment at the National University of Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences. He was an inaugural fellow of the National Research Foundation, Singapore. José moved his lab in 2011 to the Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Plant Biology and has an adjunct appointment with the Biology Department at Stanford University. When José is not thinking about the roots of environmental responses he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking and fiddling with his guitars.


Lina Duan, Postdoc

Lina is a former graduate student and current postdoc in the lab. Lina's recent paper showed that the endodermis is an important signaling center during the regulation of lateral root growth in high saline conditions. She is extending this work using a genetic approach to identify new genes that control the spatial patterning of ABA responses under stress.


Neil Robbins, Graduate student, Stanford Biology

A native of Arizona, Neil understands the importance of water for plant biology. When he's not imagining what each lab member looks like in cartoon form, he's developing methods for understanding hydropatterning in maize roots. Neil is using genetic and physiological approaches to understand how water creates positional biases in the root that regulate root development.

Ruben Rellan-Alvarez, Postdoc

Ruben comes from Spain where he studied iron transportation mechanisms in Javier Abadia's lab. Not happy enough with the gel-based systems commonly used, Ruben is working to develop soil-based imaging systems that will allow us to explore novel aspects of biology in the "hidden half" of the plant.


M.C. Yee, Lab Manager

MC has worked for renowned scientists such as Charles Yanofsky and Carlos Bustamante at Stanford University on topics ranging from regulatory mechanisms in bacteria to human evolution. Never one to shy away from a challenge, MC is now pioneering the use of Setaria viridis as a model grass species to understanding tissue-specific responses to drought stress.

Jose Sebastian, Postdoc

Pronounced "Jos", Jose comes to our lab from the Boyce Thomson Institute where he worked with Jiyoung Lee to understand the regulation of root growth by SHORTROOT and cytokinin signaling. Jose brings his developmental credentials to bear on the problem of how root growth and development are affected by drought in Setaria viridis.

Charlotte Trontin, Postdoc

Coming from the lab of Olivier Loudet at Versailles, France, Charlotte is a natural at understanding the role of genetic variation in controling environmental responses. Charlotte is working on a collaborative project with Erik Volbrecht, Sarah Hake, David Jackson, Torbert Rocheford and Qunfeng Dong to understand how drought stress controls the growth and patterning of the maize inflorescence. If this wasn't challenging enouch, Dr. Trontin is also working to define the osmosensory pathway in roots through the development of novel transcriptomic and reporter-based approaches.

Wei Feng, Postdoc

Wei (the one in blue stripes) received his PhD from Indiana University where he worked with Scott Michaels on various projects ranging from flower time regulation to heterochromatin organization in Arabidopsis. His interest in the inflorescence continues as he is now working on a collaborative project to understand how drought stress affects the development of maize inflorescence. At the same time, he expands his research from shoot to root to study how plants sense osmotic stress by generating novel reporter lines.


Heike Lindner, Postdoc

Heike comes from the lab of Ueli Grossniklaus from the University of Zurich where she worked on plant fertilization. At Carnegie, Heike is interested in understanding the secret life of roots in soil. Heike will use the recently developed GLO-Roots system (Growth and Luminescence Observatory for Roots, U.S. patent application 13/970,960), which allows the study of root architecture and gene expression from germination to senescence in soil-grown plants using dual color luminescence imaging. Heike would like to exploit natural variation in overall adult root architecture of different Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. Two different approaches may identify responsible genes for root architecture differences among those Arabidopsis accessions: (1) Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and (2) bulk-segregant analysis of F2 progenies of crosses between accessions with extreme phenotypes. In addition, the GLO-Roots system will allow her to determine changes in overall root architecture under various environmental conditions such as drought and heat. Identifying genes that make certain accessions more resistant to those conditions could have a big impact on plant agriculture in a changing climate.

Jonah Kornbluh, Technician

Jonah comes to us from UC Berkeley (GO BEARS!) where he got his undergraduate degree from the College of National Resources. As an undergraduate student he studied the effect of various toxic compounds on the Daphnia using genomic tools. In our lab Jonah is working to understand how cis-regulatory elements control tissue-specific gene expression in roots during salt stress responses.