Synthetic genetic circuits in plants

Synthetic genetic circuits are powerful tools for reprogramming the behavior of living organisms. We are developing synthetic genetic circuit tools that enable precise control over gene expression for a variety of plants. We use these circuits to create specific spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression and apply the new patterns to understand fundamental mechanisms of plant growth and development.

Controlling form to probe function

Structural features of a plant contribute to its ability to survive in challenging environments. For example, the size and shape of a plant’s root system influences its ability to reach essential nutrients in the soil or to acquire water during drought. Yet, our understanding of relationships between form and function remain limited. We are using synthetic gene circuits to modify the size and shape of plants and using the modified plants to study environmental stress tolerance. A better understanding of the plant features that are important for environmental stress tolerance would enable targeted breeding and biotechnological interventions that strengthen our agricultural systems.  

Soil microbiomes

Plants do not grow in isolation. Much like human microbiota, the bacteria that live in and around plants affect their health. We are developing tools to better understand and engineer the communities of microbes that contribute to plant survival in challenging environments. 

Recorded Research Talks

Synthetic Biology Young Speaker Series (SynBYSS) - November 2022

JGI 25th Anniversary - August 2022

UC Berkeley Plant Genome Engineering Symposium - August 2022

Plant Physiology Webinar - February 2022

Synbio Oxford Seminar - April 2021

Bristol BioDesign Institute - March 2021