Primary Department: Biology
Other Programs: Biochemistry and Neuroscience
Degrees: B.S., University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., University of California (Los Angeles)
Phone: (814) 332-2366
Office Location: Steffee Hall B203
Website: Click here
The major focus of the projects carried out in my laboratory relate to understanding the mechanisms that control gene regulation. My research focuses on an investigation of the regulation of plant peroxidase genes in the Brassica rapa Wisconsin Fast Plant model system. Peroxidases play a diversity of roles in plants, including involvement in resistance to pathogens, removal oxidative compounds, wound healing, and growth and development. In a related plant, Arabidopsis thaliana,73 different peroxidase cDNA clones have been identified, and very little is known about how the products of these genes specifically function, or what regulates their expression or activity. In my lab, we are currently isolating and characterizing cDNA clones for peroxidases expressed in Brassica rapa and in the non-native species Alliaria petiolata. These sequences are used to design primers for RT-PCR analyses gene expression in various plant tissues during the course of normal development or conditions where development is altered by changes in growth conditions. In addition to the gene expression analysis, we have been investigating how mutations affect the enzymatic activity and structure of a cytosolic ascorbate peroxidase from Pisum sativum. As the cDNA sequences for peroxidases from Fast Plants are completed, we will also be cloning those into bacterial expression systems to allow analysis of their enzymatic activity.