Research InterestsOur work is currently aimed at understanding how leaves evolved. In particular, we are examining developmental differences between the production of microphyllous leaves in lycophytes and megaphyllous leaves in ferns and angiosperms. Our work with the lycophyte species Selaginella kraussiana also includes an analysis of meristem form and function. Lycophyte meristems are structurally different from meristems of seed plants and we are investigating whether these differences in form reflect different lineage relationships.
In addition to our work on organ development, we are also interested in chloroplast development and evolution. This work has identified two nuclear genes that regulate chloroplast development in bryophytes and angiosperms. We are currently unravelling the pathway involved, mainly using Physcomitrella patens as a model system. In addition, we are attempting to identify the origin of the pathway by looking at gene function in different algal lineages.