Research and Teaching Interests
The plant surface – a vast stage for interactions…
- How do plants create flexible, long-lasting, water-proof skins that grow with their organs?
- How do plants seal their vast surface against extreme climatic conditions?
- How do insects assess host suitability when they first land on a plant?
- How can plants select for partner insects while excluding their unwanted competitors?
- How do carnivorous pitcher plants catch their prey?
These are the biological questions that motivate the research in my lab. In order to answer them, we employ molecular genetic, microscopic and eco-physiological (as well as biochemical) techniques to study plant surfaces. Depending on the individual research question, we use Arabidopsis thaliana and an array of other plant species as models for our studies.
In particular, we investigate cuticular waxes, which coat most above-ground plant organs. We explore both the biological functions of these waxes and the molecular biology underlying their formation. We investigate wax functions such as their central physiological role to seal the plant tissue against water loss and their ecological function as a first line of defence against herbivores. On the other end of the spectrum of our biological interests, we investigate the molecular machinery – the genes and enzymes – plants employ to generate their wax coatings.
Biol 201 – Cell Biology II: Introduction to Biochemistry
Chem 233 – Organic Chemistry for the Biological Sciences
Chem 333 – Spectroscopic Techniques in Organic Chemistry
Biol 423 – Plant Stress Ecophysiology
Chem 319 – Practical Skills for Chemical Research
Scie 300 – Communicating Science
Bota 546 – Plant Secondary Metabolism
Lucas Busta (Grad Student, Chemistry)
Daniela Hegebarth (Grad Student, Botany)
Radu Racovita (Grad Student, Chemistry)
Yulin Sun (Grad Student, Chemistry)
Yanjun Guo (Visiting Professor, Botany)
Danni Zhu (Undergrad Student, Botany)
Canada Research Chair in Plant Natural Products Chemistry
Full Professor (Departments of Botany and Chemistry)
Ph.D. Botany (1993) Univ. of Kaiserslautern (Germany);
Postdoctoral Fellow (1994-96) Washington State Univ.;
Research Associate (1996-2002) Univ. of Wuerzburg (Germany).
Dr. habil. (2000) University of Wuerzburg (Germany).