Content about Cell to Plant

April 11, 2011

Leaves are flattened structures perfected for turning sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen.  Turning HD-ZIPIII proteins "ON" in some cells and "OFF" in neighboring cells gives the leaf blade its characteristic shape.  The Barton lab is investigating how HD-ZIPIII proteins are kept in the OFF state.   They have recently discovered a series of steps that prevents HD-ZIPIII proteins from coming together to form active dimers.  This work is a step toward understanding how diverse leaf shapes have evolved to adapt to a vast array of environmental conditions.

Leaf cells are specialized to optimize photosynthesis.  Cells in the upper portion of the leaf are tightly packed and dense with chloroplasts to capture light energy.  Cells in the lower portion are more irregularly shaped and loosely arranged to allow better exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  The difference between upper and lower parts of the leaf is also important for making new branches; new buds are made from the base of the upper, and not the lower, side of the leaf. 

September 8, 2009

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology have discovered a key missing link in the so-called signaling pathway for plant steroid hormones (brassinosteroids). Many important signaling pathways are relays of molecules that start at the cell surface and cascade to the nucleus to regulate genes. This discovery marks the first such pathway in plants for which all the steps of the relay have been identified. Since this pathway shares many similarities with pathways in humans, the discovery not only could lead to the genetic engineering of crops with higher yields, but also could be a key to understanding major human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

January 26, 2009

Michelle Davison, a 3rd year graduate student in the Bhaya/Grossman lab has received a SCORE grant from the Biology Department to support her dissertation research. The title of her grant is "A 'Heated' Arms Race: Analysis of Viral Warfare in a Hot Spring Microbial Mat Community". The purpose of these grants is to "allow students flexibility in exploring and developing innovative research projects, particularly in their first three years at Stanford". All SCORE recipients will participate in a symposium held by the Department in Fall 2009.

August 12, 2008

Former Plant Biology director, Chris Somerville, delivers keynote lecture on Developing Cellulosic Biofuels at the 19th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research. 

Listen to the lecture here:
MP3 Download
| Streaming Audio

Download the Powerpoint presentation here:
PowerPoint Presentation