Illustration of a plant growing on a computer chip purchased from Shutterstock.
Palo Alto, CA— New work led by Carnegie’s Zhiyong Wang untangles a complex cellular signaling process that’s underpins plants’ ability to balance expending energy on growth...
Explore this Story
Chlamydomonas photo courtesy of Natasha and Natalie Rothhausen.
Palo Alto, CA— New work led by Carnegie’s Petra Redekop, Emanuel Sanz-Luque, and Arthur Grossman probes the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which plants protect themselves from self-...
Explore this Story
Paulinella micrograph courtesy of Eva Nowack.
Palo Alto, CA— About 1.2 billion years ago a blue-green bacterium was engulfed by a more complex cell, transforming our planet and allowing a tremendous diversity of plant life to emerge and...
Explore this Story
Stylized image of a young Arabidopsis leaf by Flavia Bossi
Palo Alto, CA— Organisms grow to fit the space and resources available in their environments, leading to a vast diversity of body sizes and shapes within a population of the same species. What...
Explore this Story
The photosynthetic alga Chlamydomonas. Purchased from Shutterstock.
Palo Alto, CA— A team led by current and former Carnegie plant biologists has undertaken the largest ever functional genomic study of a photosynthetic organism. Their work, published in...
Explore this Story
3D projection of an Arabidopsis root tip. Credit: Dave Ehrhardt
Palo Alto, CA— In many ways, plants form the cornerstone of our society. They are key to the health of many ecosystems, underpin our entire food chain, provide us with fuel and medicine, and...
Explore this Story
Algae growing in a body of water, purchased from Shutterstock.
Palo Alto, CA— Algae have a superpower that helps them grow quickly and efficiently. New work led by Carnegie’s Adrien Burlacot lays the groundwork for transferring this ability to...
Explore this Story
Plant Physiology cover art
Palo Alto, CA— Plant science will be crucial for solving many of society’s most-pressing challenges—including climate change, food security, and sustainable energy—but what...
Explore this Story

Pages

Revolutionary progress in understanding plant biology is being driven through advances in DNA sequencing technology. Carnegie plant scientists have played a key role in the sequencing and genome annotation efforts of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the soil alga ...
Explore this Project
Evolutionary geneticist Moises Exposito-Alonso joined the Department of Plant Biology as a staff associate in September 2019. He investigates whether and how plants will evolve to keep pace with climate change by conducting large-scale ecological and genome sequencing experiments. He also...
Meet this Scientist
Arthur Grossman believes that the future of plant science depends on research that spans ecology, physiology, molecular biology and genomics. As such, work in his lab has been extremely diverse. He identifies new functions associated with photosynthetic processes, the mechanisms of coral bleaching...
Meet this Scientist
Plants are not as static as you think. David Ehrhardt combines confocal microscopy with novel visualization methods to see the three-dimensional movement  within live plant cells to reveal the other-worldly cell choreography that makes up plant tissues. These methods allow his group to explore...
Meet this Scientist
You May Also Like...
The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) will name a mentorship award in honor of legendary Carnegie plant scientist Winslow Briggs, who died in February. “The outpouring of love...
Explore this Story
Audio Stanford, CA—Plants spend their entire lifetime rooted to one spot. When faced with a bad situation, such as a swarm of hungry herbivores or a viral outbreak, they have no option to flee but...
Explore this Story
Palo Alto, CA— What if we could increase a plant’s productivity by modifying the light to which it is exposed? This could increase the yield of important food and biofuel crops and also combat...
Explore this Story

Explore Carnegie Science

Illustration of a plant growing on a computer chip purchased from Shutterstock.
June 13, 2022

Palo Alto, CA— New work led by Carnegie’s Zhiyong Wang untangles a complex cellular signaling process that’s underpins plants’ ability to balance expending energy on growth and defending themselves from pathogens. These findings, published in Nature Plants, show how plants use complex cellular circuits to process information and respond to threats and environmental conditions.  

“Plants don’t have brains like us, and they may be fixed in place and unable to flee from predators or pathogens, but don’t feel sorry for them, because they’ve evolved an incredible network of information-processing circuits that enable them to ‘

Chlamydomonas photo courtesy of Natasha and Natalie Rothhausen.
June 13, 2022

Palo Alto, CA— New work led by Carnegie’s Petra Redekop, Emanuel Sanz-Luque, and Arthur Grossman probes the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which plants protect themselves from self-harm. Their findings, published by Science Advances, improve our understanding of one of the most-important biochemical processes on Earth.  

Plants, algae, and certain bacteria are capable of converting the Sun’s energy into chemical energy through a process called photosynthesis. It underpins our entire food chain and is responsible for the oxygen-rich nature of our atmosphere.

“In other words, life as we know it couldn’t exist without photosynthesis,

Paulinella micrograph courtesy of Eva Nowack.
June 8, 2022

Palo Alto, CA— About 1.2 billion years ago a blue-green bacterium was engulfed by a more complex cell, transforming our planet and allowing a tremendous diversity of plant life to emerge and continue to evolve.

The engulfed cyanobacterium—sometimes called blue-green algae, because of its characteristic pigments —was capable of performing a process called photosynthesis, by which the Sun’s energy can be converted into chemical energy. At first, its relationship with the more-complex cell was symbiotic. It supplied the food and the other cell provided protection. Over time, however, much of the photosynthetic bacterium’s genetic material was transferred

Stylized image of a young Arabidopsis leaf by Flavia Bossi
June 7, 2022

Palo Alto, CA— Organisms grow to fit the space and resources available in their environments, leading to a vast diversity of body sizes and shapes within a population of the same species. What are the genetic and physiological mechanisms that determine how big an organism can grow?

In insects and mammals, the cellular and molecular factors underpinning body size are well established. But in plants, this process has puzzled scientists for generations. How a plant controls the size to which it grows is a fundamental part of its developmental processes and impacts its likelihood of success in a particular environment.

“It is crucially important to understand how

No content in this section.

Revolutionary progress in understanding plant biology is being driven through advances in DNA sequencing technology. Carnegie plant scientists have played a key role in the sequencing and genome annotation efforts of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the soil alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Now that many genomes from algae to mosses and trees are publicly available, this information can be mined using bioinformatics to build models to understand gene function and ultimately for designing plants for a wide spectrum of applications.

 Carnegie researchers have pioneered a genome-wide gene association network Aranet that can assign functions

Plants are essential to life on Earth and provide us with food, fuel, clothing, and shelter.  Despite all this, we know very little about how they do what they do. Even for the best-studied species, such as Arabidopsis thaliana --a wild mustard studied in the lab--we know about less than 20% of what its genes do and how or why they do it. And understanding this evolution can help develop new crop strains to adapt to climate change.  

Sue Rhee wants to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying adaptive traits in plants to understand how these traits evolved. A bottleneck has been the limited understanding of the functions of most plant genes. Rhee’s group is

Devaki Bhaya wants to understand how environmental stressors, such as light, nutrients, and viral attacks are sensed by and affect photosynthetic microorganisms. She is also interested in understanding the mechanisms behind microorganism movements, and how individuals in groups communicate, evolve, share resources. To these ends, she focuses on one-celled, aquatic cyanobacteria, in the lab with model organisms and with organisms in naturally occurring communities.

 Phototaxis is the ability of organisms to move directionally in response to a light source.  Many cyanobacteria exhibit phototaxis, both towards and away from light. The ability to move into optimal light

Matthew Evans wants to provide new tools for plant scientists to engineer better seeds for human needs. He focuses on one of the two phases to their life cycle. In the first phase, the sporophyte is the diploid generation—that is with two similar sets of chromosomes--that undergoes meiosis to produce cells called spores. Each spore divides forming a single set of chromosomes (haploid) --the gametophyte--which produces the sperm and egg cells.

Evans studies how the haploid genome is required for normal egg and sperm function. In flowering plants, the female gametophyte, called the embryo sac, consists of four cell types: the egg cell, the central cell, and two types of

Arthur Grossman believes that the future of plant science depends on research that spans ecology, physiology, molecular biology and genomics. As such, work in his lab has been extremely diverse. He identifies new functions associated with photosynthetic processes, the mechanisms of coral bleaching and the impact of temperature and light on the bleaching process.

He also has extensively studied the blue-green algae Chlamydomonas genome and is establishing methods for examining the set of RNA molecules and the function of proteins involved in their photosynthesis and acclimation. He also studies the regulation of sulfur metabolism in green algae and plants.  

Grossman