Date: 14th February 2018
Title: Physical parameters regulating patterns in plants
Location: Biocentre 2, seminar room 1015, Viikinkaari 5
Host: Paula Elomaa
Abstract: As a developmental biologist, my primary research interest lies in understanding patterning and shape formation in walled multi-cellular organisms. We have undertaken a relatively unique approach by asking how development occurs physically- how does the cell wall of an organism need to change to allow for shape growth ? We have focused on how changes in pectin gel biochemistry are instructed (e.g. by auxin ) and how these changes relate to cell wall mechanical properties related to growth . In order to pursue this area, we have developed AFM-based methods for testing cell wall elasticity  and more recently viscoelasticity. Our work has focused on phyllotactic patterning in shoot apical meristems or plants and algae [3,5] but we are currently using the Arabidopsis hypocotyl as a system to elucidate how anisotropy is achieved during growth and what its functional importance might be. A new addition to the cell-wall-anisotropy paradigm of cellulose orientation will be presented, alongside modulation of anisotropy by sugar sensing.
Siobhan A. Braybrook is an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA (USA). The Braybrook group, which began at The Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge (UK), focuses on understanding how shapes and patterns a physically manifested in plants and brown algae. The group combines molecular biology, materials science, mathematics, and genetics in an interdisciplinary effort and are continually developing new technologies for exploring biological materials.