My lab is interested in understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms controlling plant reproductive development, especially meiosis and pollen development. Meiosis is a specialized cell division, generating haploid daughter cells (sperms and eggs) from diploid precursors. Errors occurring in meiosis can cause severe reproductive problems, such as infertility and birth defects for humans. We employ the excellent genetic model Arabidopsis thaliana to decipher the underlining mechanisms regulating homologous chromosome pairing and synapsis, as well as meiotic recombination. Pollen development is not only essential for the success of double fertilization in higher plants but is an amazing model to investigate the cellular networks regulating cell division and differentiation. Our lab has been taking multiple strategies to study this biological process in both Arabidopsis and rice.
The main purpose of the module I designed for BIOS is to introduce the basic principles of plant reproductive biology. In the class, students will dissect plant reproductive organs, examine the reproductive ability of male gametophytes (pollen) by staining, and conduct reciprocal genetic crosses to determine fertility defects for known and unknown functional mutants. We hope this elite science opportunity will help to introduce you to the wonderful world of plant biology and attract you to join us. Hope to see you!