College of Biological Sciences
The Greenham lab is interested in how internal timekeeping leads to coordination of plant responses to environmental stressors. This coordination relies on a circadian oscillator that gates physiological responses in order to maximize energy use throughout the day. The group's goal is to decipher this temporal regulation and manipulate the timing of certain processes to generate higher performing crops. Incorporating time into their experimental design provides the group with the resolution to associate dynamic transcriptional patterns with metabolic and physiological outputs. They then apply network modeling approaches to identify transcriptional regulators that control time-of-day metabolic and physiological outputs that provide abiotic stress tolerance.
To identify regulators that provide trait improvement properties, these reseachers focus their studies on the morphologically diverse crop species Brassica rapa. B. rapa is a powerful model crop system that offers a wealth of genetic and physiological diversity. To develop predictive gene regulatory networks the researchers perform time course RNA-sequencing experiments on a collection of B. rapa croptypes that have diverse stress phenotypes. They use additional genomic datasets such as ATAC-seq and single-cell sequencing to refine their models and improve predictions for targeted crop improvement.