Elliot Meyerowitz is an American plant scientist who has pioneered the use of the mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model species for plant genetics and development studies. Elliot led the application of cutting-edge technologies to plant research, enabling elucidation of the molecular basis of phenomena such as the formation of flowers.
Originally specialising in developmental genetics of fruit flies, in the 1980s Elliot decided to apply newly invented molecular technologies to plants. Little was known about plant genetics, but by sequencing, cloning and studying genes in Arabidopsis, he established the species as a model organism that is now studied around the world.
Combining live imaging with molecular-tagging technologies, Elliot detailed how flower formation is controlled. He discovered the first plant hormone receptor and identified genes that control cell numbers in the plant growing tip. Elliot’s work has provided the fundamental framework around which the field of plant development has been built.
George W. Beadle Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Interest and expertise
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology