José receives HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholar Award

I was awarded a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Simons Foundation to study the mysteries of how plants sense and response to water.  The grant will fund research in the lab over the next 5 years.  I am extremely thankful to the HHMI and Simons foundation for recognizing the fantastic work that my lab has pursued.  My special thanks to all the current and former post-docs and students who made this award possible!

Sebastian and Yee et al. highlighted by BBC

Ever wonder how plant roots respond to drought?  You probably thought it would be super complex.  Turns out a simple change in the development of shoot-borne roots explains much of the architectural differences.  In a new paper from the lab published in PNAS we described how grass species suppress crown root growth to slow the extraction of water from soil and preserve this precious resource for a longer time.  We think this may allow grass plants to better survive drought.  Interestingly, maize and millet still make some crown roots under drought and this may make these domesticated plants more water hungry.  Check out the highlight of this work in the BBC!

José joins NAASC

José has recently been elected to NAASC, the North American Arabidopsis Steering committee, along with Elizabeth Haswell from Washington University of St. Louis.  Being part of NAASC provides an opportunity to organize events that promote Arabidopsis research and plant biology in general.  NAASC organizes the ICAR meetings.  The first duty in 2015 was to vote for St. Louis as the host city for the 2017 ICAR meeting!  Meet you in St. Louis!

GLO-Roots goes robotic!

Heike Lindner and Therese LaRue are starting to test a newly installed automated rhizotron-handling system for GLO-Roots.  The yet-to-be-named system was designed in collaboration with Modular Science, a Bay Area startup specializing in building robotic systems for biological research.  The system will enable automated delivery of plants to the GLO1 imaging system as well as automated determination of weight and addition of water, luciferin, saline solution, etc.  At max capacity, we will be able to image about 130 rhizotrons per day, which will enable us to conduct larger-scale experiments to understand the role of natural genetic variation in root system architecture and environmental responses.  Check out our teaser video of the system.