Welcome to the Kate Warpeha Lab

All life on earth is dependent upon plants. Humans use plants for food (microbiome health), structure, and for medical applications. Plants are also the ultimate environmental sensing organism—able to sense and respond to minute chemical patterns, radiation, and subtle environmental changes. Important for our work is understanding differences in DNA (genotype) and chemicals (chemotype) to build biological signatures and cell ‘forensics’.

Being sessile organisms, plants must prepare themselves to respond to a multitude of environmental factors. We are specifically interested in proteins that regulate cell growth & repair, and cell division. We have shown that Pirin1 is a quercetinase and transcriptional cofactor. Pirin homologs are known cell cycle regulators, where human Pirin has been implicated in degenerative conditions and cancer. Arogenate dehydratase3 (ADT3) is a phenylalanine biosynthetic enzyme which influences the partitioning of carbon and nitrogen, commitment to cell lineage, cell division and cell expansion in young seedlings.

In response to abiotic (nonliving i.e. radiations, salt, heat, chilling, light (visible and UV light), chemicals introduced to the environment etc.) and biotic (insects, fungi, nematodes, biothreats / hazards) factors, we study how a plant can alter response pathways, in particular, the impact on phenylpropanoids and associated molecules, which in turn affect the microbiome when ingested.

We take this information obtained through research, and target problems for human health and survival. We are particularly interested in prevention of Biohazards, Pain, Inflammation, Cancer, and improvement in treatment of metabolic and digestion disorders.


Notes from the lab.

Notes from the lab.