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Current Research

Research in our laboratory is aimed at understanding how plants respond to insect herbivory and other forms of wound stress. We use both tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) as experimental model systems for three related areas of investigation: (1) we are elucidating the mechanism of synthesis and action of the plant hormone jasmonate; (2) we are studying how jasmonate-regulated defensive compounds thwart insect attack; and (3) we are studying the development and metabolic function of glandular trichomes in tomato. These projects provide training in several areas of modern plant biology, including: analysis of protein-protein and receptor-hormone interactions; transcriptional networks; plant development; genetics of plant-insect interactions; protein biochemistry/proteomics; metabolism and metabolomics; and crop improvement for insect resistance.