Leaves come in many shapes and sizes, from flat leaves with a simple outline to the cup shaped traps of carnivorous plants.
In the Coen group they are interested in finding whether common rules might underlie the diversity of leaf shape seen in nature.
Karen’s research focusses on understanding how genetic interactions and differential growth shape asymmetries in the simple leaves of Arabidopsis and generate complex 3D shapes such as those of carnivorous plant traps.
She uses a combination of genetics, confocal microscopy, and Optical Projection Tomography to learn about mechanisms involved in leaf development in Arabidopsis and in bladderwort traps using Utricularia gibba as a model system.
Whitewoods C. D., Pinto Goncalves B., Cheng J., Cui M., Kennaway R., Lee K., Bushell C., Yu M., Piao C., Coen E. (2020)Evolution of carnivorous traps from planar leaves through simple shifts in gene expression.Science (367)Publisher's version: 0036-8075
Lee K. J. I., Bushell C., Koide Y., Fozard J. A., Piao C., Yu M., Newman J., Whitewoods C., Avondo J., Kennaway R., Maree S., Cui M., Coen E. (2019)Shaping of a three-dimensional carnivorous trap through modulation of a planar growth mechanism.PLoS Biology (17)Publisher's version: 1544-9173
Lee K. J., Coen E. S., Calder G., Hindle C., Newman J., Robinson S., Avondo J. (2017)Macro optical projection tomography for large scale 3D imaging of plant structures and gene activityJournal of Experimental Botany (68 (3))Publisher's version: 0022-0957