Articles

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...
"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...