Department of Biological Science
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Plant Development, Tissue Culture, Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology.
Our main research focus areas come under physiological and molecular aspects of the regulation of shoot development. Induction of adventitious shoot buds from cultured explants is an important technique used in biotechnological improvement of plants. We use Arabidopsis, Petunia and rice as experimental systems. Additionally, we are interested in AFLP and microsatellite markers for plant systematics and population genetics.
Recently, we have initiated some work on plant hormone signaling on shoot development with special focus on cytokinins and gibberellins. We have discovered a cytokinin binding protein, whose level of expression significantly affects plant biomass and seed yield. We are currently studying cytokinin signal transduction intermediates that might interact with this protein. Our data from Arabidopsis and rice show that over twofold increase in biomass (number of branches/tillers) and seed yield per plant can be obtained by suppressing the gene for this protein (Homology-dependent Gene silencing 1 or HOG1). We are exploring the use of this gene for improvement of various crop plants, including, leafy vegetables, ornamental plants, fodder and plants used for cellulosic ethanol (biofuel) production.
Besides helping to gain a better understanding of shoot development, we hope that our work can contribute towards crop improvement in the long-term.
Our current research projects come under the following themes:
- Cloning genes that regulate shoot development.
- Phytohormone (cytokinin & gibberellin) signaling intermediates and shoot development.
- Transgenic plants for functional analysis of selected cDNA (e.g., HOG1, AGL24).
- DNA markers (e.g., AFLP, microsatellites) for plants
Membership on Editorial Boards
- Editor, Plant Cell Reports (Springer, from Jan 1999 onwards)
- Editor, Plant Biotechnology Reports (Springer, from April 2007 onwards)
- Member, Editorial Advisory Board, The Open Plant Science Journal (from April 2007 onwards)
- Member, Board of Editors - UNE Asia Papers (Electronic journal of the University of New England Asia Center, Armidale, Australia - from December 2001)
- Reviews Editor, Plant Cell Reports (Springer, from April 2002 - Nov 2008)
- Editor, Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture - (Jan 1999 - Jan 2006)