Areas of research interest:
Research in our lab focuses on two plant systems that have important commercial value, maize, a major crop plant and orchid, a medicinal resource. The long-term objective of the maize project is to elucidate mechanisms responsible for regulating death of kernel storage tissue in hopes of finding ways to increase grain productivity. The orchid research aims to understand the unique physiological and cellular requirements of orchid seed during germination and seedling establishment. Grain productivity is a quantitative characteristic that agricultural breeders struggle to improve. Since there are many genes that influence this trait, it is difficult to optimize through traditional crosses. Work done in our lab focuses on understanding pathways that permit grain fill in maize. We hope to pin-point key genes, hormones or specific cellular events that will provide a unique approach to the problem. We are using a culture system and differential transcript expression studies to identify physiological agents and genes that promote or inhibit PCD. Research done in our lab on the orchid species Spathoglottis plicata strongly indicates that nearly half of the embryo can be non-living and still produce a viable seedling. Currently we are studying the role of hormones in first leaf formation and seedling establishment of S. plicata.
- Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
- M.A., Certificate in Biotechnology
- B.A., California State University, Fresno