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Renewable energy and genetically-modified crops

Research Achievements

Renewable energy and genetically-modified crops

In the quest for renewable energy and genetically-modified crops, researchers are targeting the molecular mechanisms that control plant cell tip growth in order to increase yield of plant biomass. Tip growth is influenced by dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton, and Robert Augustine (IGERT trainee) studies how actin-binding proteins regulate actin dynamics. One limitation is the ability to accurately quantify actin dynamics to understand the influence of gene regulation. Augustine (Plant Biology), in collaboration with Worcester Polytechnic Institute researchers, L. Vidali (Biology/Biotechnology) and E. Tuzel (Physics), has developed image analysis methods to quantify actin dynamics. These techniques allow researchers to determine which genes are significant in regulating actin dynamics. These analysis methods are applicable to a broad scientific community and will be released in a manuscript that is currently under revision.