The work in my laboratory centers on reproductive barriers between higher plant species, in particular between species of wild tomatoes. We are examining the molecular and cellular nature of inter-specific reproductive barriers (IRB).
My research focuses on sugar and amino acid allocation from sites of primary assimilation to import-dependent sinks in plants. This is a fundamental process that allows plants to function as multi-cellular organisms. We use molecular, genetic and biochemical tools to define the mechanisms and regulation of this essential process. Recently, as part of this work, we discovered a unique transcription factor that when expressed out of context, increases yields by 3-fold. We're currently focused on understanding how this happens.
My research interests are centered on the mechanisms that animals use to adapt to different situations. Recent investigations have focused on animals that hibernate and the mechanisms they use to regulate energy stores.
My lab investigates how the photosynthetic machinery in plants acquires the essential metal cofactors copper and iron. These metal ions are required for photosynthesis and thus plant productivity, yet they are toxic at too high concentrations. We use genetics together with whole plant physiology, cell and molecular biology and biochemistry in the model plant Arabidopsis to unravel the regulation of copper delivery and the assembly of iron-sulfur clusters in proteins.
In the Pilon-Smits lab we are interested in processes by which plants accumulate and detoxify environmental pollutants, as well as in ecological and evolutionary aspects of selenium hyperaccumulation. We study these processes from the molecular level to the field. Our approaches include genomics, genetics, biotechnology, biochemistry, whole-plant physiology, and ecological studies. These studies are aimed to gain knowledge about basic biological processes, but have applications for the use of plants for environmental cleanup or as fortified foods.
Recombination nodules (RNs) are ellipsoidal particles lying on the central element of the synaptonemal complex (SC) during zygotene and pachytene of meiosis in eukaryotic organisms. RNs seem to reside at the sites of reciprocal recombination events in late pachytene nuclei. We are studying the temporal development, spatial distribution, and biochemistry of RNs and SCs.