Our lab uses the stomatal lineage as a model system to study and understand fundamental biological processes. We are interested in how living systems can be flexible and adaptable, yet still create functional tissues that follow certain patterning rules. We typically ask mechanistic questions for which we design wet-lab experiments to test, however, we increasingly rely on modeling and genetic associations. We are enthusiastic about collaborating with mathematicians, physicists, engineers, population geneticists, global ecologists, teachers and citizen-scientists who bring complementary expertise and viewpoints to complex problems in biology.
We center our approaches on the small weedy plant Arabidopsis because of the powerful experimental tools and collegial worldwide research community, and because its stomatal lineage is complex enough to provide interesting questions, but simple enough to hope to get answers to them. We also find comparative approaches illuminating and thus look at variation--among populations of wild Arabidopsis, among other plants, and between plants and other kingdoms. We think it's important to test how the genes and pathways we uncover in lab settings translate to economically and ecologically important plants like tomatoes and cereal grasses.