About the Center
Comprehensive understanding and modeling of plant responses to multiple abrupt abiotic stresses and to prolonged climatic changes
Plants adjust to a changing environment by both phenotypic plasticity and adaptation through trans-generation natural selection. However, recent rapid global climate changes appear in some cases to have outpaced that ability, and increasingly such climate changes impact biodiversity of flora and fauna worldwide.
Thus, the global shortages of fresh water and resulting deterioration and desertification of arable lands call into question future food security in a sustainable environment. Consequently, a great challenge for plant biologists in the 21st century is to enhance the potential of food production while considering our environment and its biodiversity.
The cooperative center will host the multidisciplinary skills and approaches to address the mechanisms underlying short- and long-term plant plasticity and adaptation to environmental threats imposed by climate changes.
The I-CORE brings together plant biologists and computer scientists with the following research approaches:
Deciphering the genetic and epigenetic factors affecting short- and long-term (trans-generational) phenotypic plasticity and adaptation to environmental changes.
Elucidating the mechanisms underlying the interactions of the environment with intrinsic developmental programs, and the role of phytohormones in stress responses.
Elucidating the key factors regulating plant metabolism and catabolism under stress with focus on the switch-points driving cell death versus cell vitality.
Dynamics of cell structures (cell wall, membranes, organelles, and protein complexes) and their role in stress responses.
Laying a foundation for a computational perspective of plant behavior under a changing environment, and predictions of selected genetic and environmental perturbations that will bring the plant to a desired metabolic or functional state.
To address these objectives, the I-CORE will establish appropriate research infrastructure including:
Climate Change Simulating Center
Metabolite Imaging & Hormone Profiling Center
Center for Analysis of Plant Stress Proteins
Computational Network Analysis & Modeling
The I-CORE will contribute to a more holistic view of a plant in a changing environment, will boost research of fundamental scientific questions, and will impact on the local Ag-Biotech industries towards improved plant robustness under changing climate. The Center will also provide state-of-the-art education opportunities for training the next generation of plant biologists.