BS, Horticulture, Purdue University
PhD, Biochemistry, Purdue University
Plant architecture directly influences plant productivity. The Best Lab is focused on manipulating the current maize architecture to improve productivity and resist yield losses incurred by a changing environment. Plant hormones regulate all aspects of plant architecture. Our research is primarily targeting three hormone pathways: gibberellins, brassinosteroids and auxin. We have identified that manipulating endogenous levels of these plant growth regulators through both genetic and biochemical approaches results in drastic effects on plant shape and form. While many of these changes in architecture are beneficial to improve plant performance, there are consequences that can cause deleterious effects. We have used multiple approaches to identify that it is possible to uncouple the beneficial and deleterious traits that these plant hormones regulate. Through a broad range of targeted approaches, we are manipulating the downstream genetic factors to improve maize architecture.