Daniel M. Vernon
BBMB & Biology
United States of America
My research is in plant gene discovery, developmental genetics, and functional genomics. My laboratory uses the species Arabidopsis thaliana - the major model system for plant genome research worldwide - to identify genes and define their functions in plant development and reproduction. The lab - "Team Weed" - is currently working with two groups of genes. One, the PIRLs, encodes Plant Intracellular Ras-group LRR proteins, a family of 9 leucine-rich repeat proteins structurally related to animal LRR proteins involved in cell signaling and gene regulation (Forsthoefel et al, 2005). Using a reverse-genetics approach with Arabidopsis gene knock-out mutants, we've established that at least 4 PIRLs are important in the formation of pollen, a process crucial for plant reproduction (Forsthoefel et al, 2010; 2011; 2013). Team Weed also is characterizing several PPR genes essential for embryo development (Cushing et al., 2005). These projects require an integrative approach using a combination molecular techniques, genetics, microscopy, cell imaging, and plant transformation. Our work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, USDA, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and Whitman College.
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology