My lab's major area of interest is root-microbe interactions in legumes. We have several research projects that seek to identify the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in legume nodule development. Legumes such as soybean help fix atmospheric nitrogen in root nodules formed through symbiotic association with rhizobia bacteria. miRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in a post-transcriptional manner. Their role in nodule development is largely unknown. We examine the role of miRNAs in nodule development using a number of different approaches including genetics, genomics, molecular and cellular biology and microscopy. In addition to the enhancement of scientific knowledge and scholarship, this research has economic and environmental benefits since symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legume root nodules alleviates the use of chemical fertilizers.
We are also interested in determining the influence of rhizodeposit flavonoids on the microbial diversity in the rhizosphere. We utilize genetics, metagenomics and molecular microbiology.
Key research projects in the lab include,
- miRNA-regulation of auxin-cytokinin balance during nodule development
- Genome organization of soybean miRNAs
- Methods to assay miRNA abundance and activity
- Flavonoid rhizodeposits and plant-microbe interactions
See Research page for more details.
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