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Contact Information

Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 4018
Phone: +1-508-831-4194
Fax: +1-508-831-5936

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“Photosynthetic organisms will provide the sustainable food and energy of the future; this makes them an essential biotechnological resource that has to be understood in great detail.”

Luis Vidali

I deeply enjoy teaching, in particular conveying the important roles played by plants. It is a great reward when my students realize that plants are more complex and interesting than they anticipated, and they want to learn more. I enjoy that students at WPI are open about thinking in new ways; this critical thinking is the result of intense project-based learning.

My research aims at understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying plant cell organization and growth, with the long-term goal of increasing plant productivity. I am particularly interested in understanding the participation of the cytoskeleton in plant cell organization and growth. The cytoskeleton is one of the most conserved cellular systems between plants, fungi, and animals. This conservation is indicative of shared essential processes, such as the capacity for self-organization. Because these are complex problems, it is important to investigate them using a multidisciplinary approach and in a simple model organism. I was fortunate to identify the moss Physcomitrella patens as a simple plant with powerful molecular genetics. I was also fortunate to establish a fruitful collaboration with the Department of Physics at WPI. 

Research Interests

  • Cell biology of plants
  • Cytoskeleton and molecular motors
  • Microscopy
  • Oil producing algae
  • Interdisciplinary Research


  • B.S. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 1993
  • Ph.D University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999
  • Post-doc Harvard Medical School, 2005
  • Post-doc University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2009

Featured Publications

  • Liu, Y. and Vidali, L. (2011) Efficient polyethylene glycol (PEG) mediated transformation of the moss Physcomitrella patens. J. Vis. Exp. 50:2560
  • Vidali, L., Burkart, G., Augustine, R.C., Kerdavid, E., Tüzel, E., and Bezanilla, M. (2010) Myosin XI is essential for tip growth. Plant Cell 22:1868-1882
  • Vidali, L., Augustine, R.C., Fay, S.N., Franco, P., Pattavina, K.A., and Bezanilla, M. (2009) Rapid screening for temperature sensitive alleles in plants. Plant Physiol. 151:506-514 (Breakthrough Technologies)
  • Vidali, L., van Gisbergen, P.A., Guerin, C., Franco, P., Li, M., Burkart, G.M., Augustine, R.C., Blanchoin, L., and Bezanilla, M. (2009) Rapid formin-mediated actin-filament elongation is essential for polarized plant cell growth. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 106:13341-13346
  • Vidali, L., Augustine, R.C., Kleinman, K.P., and Bezanilla, M. (2007) Profilin is essential for tip growth in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Plant Cell 19:3705-3722
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