Nicola is interested in quantitative approaches in plant development
The epidermis is the most outer tissue layer protecting the plant from the environment and sensing the external stimuli.
In Arabidopsis thaliana, it is a heterogeneous tissue consisting of interlocking pavement cells, which space the stomata and trichomes on the leaves. As they are exposed, epidermal cells are a great model to study how cellular heterogeneity in growth rates and oriented cell division affect development in different plant organs.
In the Dr Richard Smith lab, Nicola uses the confocal image analysis software MorphoGraphX to study cell geometry and growth in Arabidopsis thaliana and Marchantia polymorpha.