I am broadly interested in the evolution of angiosperms. I began my studies in plant morphology and anatomy as an undergraduate, researching the morphological development of flowers of Mirabilis jalapa (four o’clock flower) with C.-S. Kuoh. Later I investigated cellular developments related to crystal formation in Morus as a Master’s student supervised by L.-L. Huang. This was followed by taxonomic and phylogenic studies of Ternstroemiaceae and Lecythidaceae with C.-H. Tsou at Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
Currently, I am focusing on the evolution of plant reproduction, specifically by studying female gametophyte development and the processes of fertilization in Zea. Working with Ned Friedman and Pam Diggle, my dissertation project explores two avenues of Zea sexual reproduction. First, I am investigating the cellular development of female gametophyte and young fruit of Balsas teosinte, which is the closest relative of maize (corn). I would like to understand how cellular developments change during seed development through maize domestication. In addition, by utilizing the phenomenon of heterofertilization (double fertilization accomplished by sperm from two different pollen grains instead of one), I can test the inclusive fitness theory that has been applied to explain the evolution and advantage of the nourishing behavior of angiosperm endosperm.