Our laboratory is interested in compelling questions regarding sensitive responses to signals and threats in the environment, and the cell signaling and chemical responses that occur subsequent to exposure, utilizing plant cells of many types. We are keen to utilize cellular information to inform development of improved foods, and to improve human detections of chemicals and biological signals, by making devices that can utilize this information.
G-protein regulation of early development and responses to the environment.
We examine some of the features of cellular signaling as mediated by interactors/effectors of GTP-binding (G)-proteins. This NSF-funded work was initially focused on abiotic signals the resulting effects on development in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. We are interested in the roles of several effectors of GPA1, which is the sole Gα subunit in Arabidopsis.
Regulation of cellular antioxidant levels.
Action of ADT3 and Pirin1 (PRN1) regulate the phenylpropanoid quality and levels in the germinating seedling. We are studying the impacts of these proteins and similar proteins, to better understand how the young seedling orients itself as a result of Global Change, i.e. changes in abiotic and biotic stressors, and human-made chemical and biological threats in the environment. Changes in abiotic and biotic signals as a result of human activity, can have signifant negative impacts on world agriculture, ecosystems and day-to-day human health. Responses in the phenylpropanoid pathway in soybean was supported by the Illinois Soybean Association, and the UIC OTM Proof of Concept Award.
Application of plant products to human health and disease.
Many chemicals made in plants have potential for informing us of environmental change, as well as providing us with new chemical methods for treating illness and disease and nutrition in humans and animals. Particular chemicals made in a number of plants like broccoli, jojoba, blueberry and strawberry may be effective in alerting us to sudden or gradual environmental change; and also these same plants make products that are useful in preventing illness.
Research supported by: