Research Overview

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better"

Albert Einstein

Scientific Background and Challenge

Wild and crop 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. Understanding the basis of phenotypic plasticity under climatic stresses and its selective genetic impact are challenges that require new ways for combining experimental and computational tools. The cooperative center hosts 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. 

 

I-CORE Objectives

The Center brings together internationally recognized plant biologists with expertise in different disciplines to coordinately address the issue of how plants respond to environmental changes, with the goal of deciphering the mechanisms underlying short- and long-term adaptation to abiotic stresses (e.g., drought, salinity, and nutrient deficiency). In particular, the Center aims at:

 

num1Deciphering the genetic and epigenetic factors affecting short- and long-term (trans-generational) phenotypic plasticity and adaptation to environmental changes.

num2Elucidating the mechanisms underlying the interactions of the environment with intrinsic developmental programs, and the role of phytohormones in stress responses.

num3Elucidating the key factors regulating plant metabolism and catabolism under stress with focus on the switch-points driving cell death versus cell vitality.

num4Dynamics of cell structures (cell wall, membranes, organelles, and protein complexes) and their role in stress responses.

num5Laying 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.

 

Center Research Scheme