Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Rohan Rattan Rose Hills

Engineering the Cytokinin Pathway for Fine-Tuned Lateral Root Growth

The configuration of a plant’s root system is crucial in its inherent ability to access essential nutrients in soil and secure water. Furthermore, tuning root form has long been a goal in plant engineering. Plant synthetic biology now makes it possible to develop tools to reprogram root systems. However, this endeavor faces challenges, including the complexity of designing synthetic genetic programs and the intricate cross-talk between developmental processes. Type-B Response Regulators are a family of transcription factors in the two-component cytokinin signaling system that modulate the expression of genes involved in various growth and development processes, including root architecture. By engineering these regulators to exhibit repressive and activation phenotypes, we can precisely control root system development. Unlike mutation-based approaches, our method functions within a wild-type background. We utilize tissue-specific promoters to drive the expression of engineered Type-B Response Regulators, overriding native developmental cues. This approach offers a promising alternative, avoiding regulatory DNA engineering to manipulate root development without introducing mutations.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for your contribution to supporting my research project. I am confident that I will be able to make meaningful progress in my research and bring valuable insights to the field of Plant Synthetic Biology. I cannot thank you enough for your belief in my abilities and for your commitment to fostering the future generation of science and research!
Major: Bioengineering and Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Patrick Shih
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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