The image is an electron tomographic reconstruction of a developing maize aleurone cell containing vacuoles with large aggregates of storage proteins (red) and intravacuolar membranes (green): mitochondria (gold), plastids (green), lipid bodies (blue) and ribosomes (white) are abundant in the cytoplasm. (Figure provided by Prof. Marisa Otegui, UW Madison)
In keeping with the long tradition of excellence in basic and applied plant sciences at UW Madison, the CMB plant biology focus group is a vibrant and collaborative research community with a strong commitment to graduate training. With researchers from many departments including Agronomy, Biochemistry, Botany, Genetics, Horticulture, Microbial Sciences, and Plant Pathology, the CMB plant biology focus group plays a major role in keeping UW Madison at the forefront of plant science research.
The focus group has strong research programs in the areas of plant development, cell biology, epigenetic regulation of gene expression, ion transport, gravity/mechano sensing, plant/microbe interactions, pathogen defense, and sustainable agricultural practices. Research in these areas make use of agronomically important crop plants (e.g. maize and soybean) as well as a variety of model plant systems including Arabidopsis, Brachypodium, and Medicago. These plant systems offer many advantages for genetic and biochemical investigations and provide opportunities for training in a wide variety of cutting-edge techniques and approaches, ranging from forward and reverse genetics, advanced live-cell and electron microscopy, to state-of-the-art proteomic, metabolomic and bioinformatic methods.
At a time of increasing challenges due to climate change and increasing population size the knowledge gained through our studies will help to develop new strategies for improved food security and production of other agronomically important products. In addition to the scientific and economic benefits of plant science research, a major goal of the plant science focus group is to train graduate and undergraduate students to become independent scientists and global citizens.