nemhauser lab
department of biology
university of washington
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Arabadopsis seedlings from fully etiolated (far-right) to fully de-etiolated (far-left).
Cells use a network of interacting factors to translate information from chemical signals into changes in growth or identity. The Nemhauser Lab is interested in understanding how signaling pathways fit into the broader contexts of time, location within an organism, and interaction with other signals. Specifically, we use a model plant called Arabidopsis thaliana to dissect the network by which seedlings change their form to take best advantage of their light environment. This process is called photomorphogenesis. Work from many groups over the past twenty years has produced a long list of factors linked to photoreceptors, the proteins that directly sense light and begin the process of photomorphogenesis. The goal of our research is to understand how these diverse proteins and small molecules create a robust and flexible network that shapes plant form.

Three examples of our projects exploring the photomorphogenetic network: