Articles

Stanford, CA— Algae may hold the key to feeding the world’s burgeoning population. Don’t worry; no one is going to make you eat them. But because they are more efficient than most plants at taking in carbon dioxide from the air, algae could transform agriculture. If their efficiency could be transferred to crops, we could grow more food in less time using less water and less nitrogen fertilizer. New work from a team led by Carnegie’s Martin...
Stanford, CA— Four additional members of Stanford University’s faculty have been named Honorary Adjunct Staff Scientists at Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology. Stanford’s Dominique Bergmann has been a Carnegie adjunct since 2011, and the newly added adjunct staff brings the total number with this honorary title to five. “For decades, Carnegie has shared not only ideas, but also access to equipment and mentorship of bright young scientists...
Stanford, CA— You’ve probably seen news stories about the highly lauded, much-discussed genome editing system CRISPR/Cas9. But did you know the system was actually derived from bacteria, which use it to fight off foreign invaders such as viruses? It allows many bacteria to snip and store segments of DNA from an invading virus, which they can then use to “remember” and destroy DNA from similar invaders if they are encountered again. Recent work...
Stanford, CA— During the daytime, plants convert the Sun’s energy into sugars using photosynthesis, a complex, multi-stage biochemical process. New work from a team including Carnegie’s Mark Heinnickel, Wenqiang Yang, and Arthur Grossman identified a protein needed for assembling the photosynthetic apparatus that may help us understand the history of photosynthesis back in the early days of life on Earth, a time when oxygen was not abundant in...
Washington, DC— More than 1,000 scientists from nonprofit, corporate, academic, and private institutions say public doubts about genetically modified food crops are hindering the next Green Revolution. In a letter published in the journal Science, six researchers from three institutions explain their recent petition in support of science-based criteria in guiding the safe and effective employment of genetic modification (GM) technology. The...
Stanford, CA—Carnegie’s Alexander Jones will receive the Tansley Medal for Excellence in Plant Science. The honor includes publishing a short review, an editorial written about his work in the journal New Phytologist, and a small bursary. The journal’s Tansley Medal, named after early 20th century botanist Sir Arthur Tansley, is awarded each year in recognition of “outstanding contribution to research in plant science by an individual in the...
This year’s Department of Plant Biology Summer Internship Program was held June 12th to August 14th. Over 30 domestic and international students participated in this program and conducted experiments in 10 labs at Carnegie DPB. We had a very diverse group of interns this year, with over half of them women, and many from different minority groups. Besides doing research, interns also went to a seminar series given by Faculty members from...
Stanford, CA—Everyone who took high school biology learned that photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae and select bacteria transform the Sun's energy into chemical energy during the daytime. But these photosynthetic organisms activate other biochemical pathways at night, when they generate energy by breaking down the sugars, starches, and oils that they created during the day. New work that focused on this nighttime growth found a...
Stanford, CA— Once a mother plant releases its embryos to the outside world, they have to survive on their own without family protection. To ensure successful colonization by these vulnerable creatures, the mother plant provides the embryo with a backpack full of energy, called the endosperm. Since, over time, the only plants that will survive are those that reproduce and compete successfully, the mother plant’s whole life is dedicated to...