My main interests are root meristem function and the effects of the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) on root growth.
I have used detailed growth analysis to study the effects of ABA on root growth, in particular cell division and elongation. Using the transactivation approach pioneered in Jim Haseloff’s lab and complementation of ABA signal transduction mutants I am mapping the physical site of ABA action in the root.
Recently, the discovery of cytoplasmatic ABA receptor (Ma et al., Science and Park et al., Science) has for the first time allowed the reconstitution of a complete ABA signal transduction pathway from perception to gene expression (Fujii et al., Nature). This opens exciting new prospects in the study of ABA signal transduction and I am collaborating with Jamie Twycross on the development of an executable model of ABA signal transduction. This allows us to simulate the entire tranduction pathway under a range of different conditions, helping us to gain a greater quantitative understanding of the pathway and the precise interactions at certain steps of the pathway.
Current work, as part of a team funded by a BBSRC funded professorial fellowship to Professor Malcolm Bennett, includes studying root meristem function with the aim to understand root growth and architecture in soil systems and to transfer the knowledge gained from model species into crops.