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.