Jie is working on the Morphodynamics of three-dimensional plant organs, such pitcher leaves of carnivorous plants.
Leaves and petals are generally flat sheet-like structures. However, some groups such as buttercup family and carnivorous plants have evolved cup-shaped leaves and petals independently. The genetic mechanisms behind this kind of transition is unclear.
To find a general principal, Jie is using volumetric finite element method to model the dynamic transformation from a 2D sheet to a 3D cup theoretically. Then, he will adopt the experimental results from 3D imaging and molecular genetics to test our models.
Jie is also using the similar strategy to model the tissue outgrowth such as ligules in monocot leaves.