Research Fellows Directory
Dr Naomi Nakayama
University of Edinburgh
A fundamental requirement for wellbeing of biological organisms is the sound engineering of their bodies. Their structures need to be able to withstand their own weight and movement, as well as mechanical agitations from the environment. Since mechanical demands change dynamically, organisms ‘calibrate’ their morphology and/or anatomy constantly to achieve structural resilience. A prime example is weight-induced wood formation. In plant shoots, their own weight causes mechanical stress to accumulate at the stem base. Weight above a threshold activates the pluripotent stem cells that give rise to wood, which is especially stiff and supportive. While some of the key events have been identified, there still are many gaps in our understanding of weight-induced structural calibration in plant shoots. We hope to comprehend the engineering and molecular mechanisms behind this phenomenon in the model plant Arabidopsis. Our research will likely reveal fundamental insights into how cells deal with mechanical distress and achieve the resilience observed in biological structures at the organismal level.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)