The model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana (or thale cress), was the first plant to have its genome sequenced and is an important tool for studying plant development.
Although Arabidopsis isn’t itself of agronomic importance, the knowledge that we have gained from studying this plant has been used in crop species, such as oilseed rape.
Billy is interested in understanding symmetry establishment in the Arabidopsis fruit, where the bilateral ovary transitions into the radially symmetrical style.
Many of the genes that control fruit development have been well characterised but it is not clear how these transcription factors control cell division.
Billy’s PhD focuses on the mechanism by which these transcription factors may control cell division plane orientation.