Sherryl Bisgrove

Associate Professor, Plant Cell & Developmental Biology
Biology

Education

  • BSc, University of Victoria
  • MSc, Indiana University
  • PhD, University of Utah

Biography

My research program focuses on understanding how plants control the growth of roots, stems, flowers, and leaves, both in response to environmental stimuli and to form the diversity of shapes that we see in nature. The cells that make up the body of a plant are held together in one place; this means that the shape of a root, leaf, or flower petal is determined by controlling the directions in which cells divide and expand. How, then, are the directions of cell division and cell expansion controlled? Inside of cells there is a system of long, thin, tubular shaped filaments that are crucial for controlling cell division and cell expansion. These filaments, called microtubules, are dynamic in nature; they are constantly lengthening, shortening, and rearranging into different configurations within the cell. My lab investigates how microtubule behavior is regulated and how this regulation, in turn, effects changes in plant growth. We are currently studying a group of microtubule associated proteins known as +TIPs because they bind the growing ends of microtubules. From their position at the active end of the microtubule, +TIPs appear to play important roles as signal relays between microtubules and other proteins or structures in cells. We discovered that members of the EB1 family of +TIPs modulate root responses mechanical cues. The ability of roots to respond appropriately to mechanical cues plays a key role in the fitness of the plant because it determines how effectively the root system can penetrate through the soil in search of water and nutrients. One line of investigation in the lab is aimed at determining how EB1 and microtubules affect root responses to mechanical cues. We are also screening for novel proteins involved in the microtubule-dependant modification of growth and development in plants .

Courses

Future courses may be subject to change.