Quantitative approaches to multicellular dynamics

Group leader: Pau Formosa-Jordan

Research project:

A quantitative study of the Arabidopsis shoot meristem during floral transition

Floral transition is the first step in plant reproduction, is controlled by environmental and developmental cues and is important for fitness. During floral transition the plant initiates flower development, but the earliest step in the process in Arabidopsis thaliana is that the shoot apical meristem (SAM), which is the tissue that produces the plant aerial organs, undergoes a dramatic morphological change from a flat to a domed structure. Several studies have deciphered gene regulatory networks controlling this transition, but how the meristem doming process occurs at the cellular level remains poorly understood. This PhD project aims to integrate the gene regulatory networks with cellular growth and cell division patterns to understand how they contribute to this morphological transition. To address this question, the project will first establish a 3D quantitative description of the SAM at different stages of the floral transition from confocal images with cellular resolution. Then, a combination of time-lapse microscopy of meristems during the transition, quantitative image analysis and computational modelling will investigate how cell growth and division within the meristem are regulated throughout the floral transition, and how they impact on the internal cellular organisation of the meristem and the doming process. This PhD position would suit a motivated student willing to perform computational work, experimental work or, more ideally, a combination of both, and who has either a quantitative background such as physics, mathematics, engineering or computer science,  or a more experimental background in biology or in plant sciences with an interest in computational approaches. This project will be performed in collaboration with George Coupland’s group (MPIPZ, Germany) and Richard Smith’s group (John Innes Centre, UK).

Key publication

Kinoshita et al 2020, eLife: https://elifesciences.org/articles/60661

Potential collaborations with other research groups


John Innes Centre (JIC)

Genes in the Environment / Group Leader: Richard Smith

Potential collaborations with associated partners

More information