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Philip Benfey

(919) 660-7338
Research Interest: 
Developmental biology
Research Summary: 
Molecular genetic and systems biology approaches to study plant development.
Research Description: 

One of the key questions in developmental biology is how cells acquire their identities. This is an important question in human development where stem cells divide and differentiate into skin, muscle, fat etc. It is equally central to plant development where most organs and cells are formed from stem cell populations known as meristems. Our laboratory addresses this question using a combination of genetics, molecular biology and genomics to identify and characterize the genes that regulate formation of the root in the plant model system, Arabidopsis thaliana. The choice of the root as a model was based on the simplicity of its organization and its stereotyped developmental program.

Periodic root branching in Arabidopsis requires synthesis of an uncharacterized carotenoid derivative.
Van Norman JM, Zhang J, Cazzonelli CI, Pogson BJ, Harrison PJ, Bugg TD, Chan KX, Thompson AJ, Benfey PN.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014. 111:E1300-9.

3D phenotyping and quantitative trait locus mapping identify core regions of the rice genome controlling root architecture.
Topp CN, Iyer-Pascuzzi AS, Anderson JT, Lee CR, Zurek PR, Symonova O, Zheng Y, Bucksch A, Mileyko Y, Galkovskyi T, Moore BT, Harer J, Edelsbrunner H, Mitchell-Olds T, Weitz JS, Benfey PN.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013. 110:E1695-704.

A microfluidic device and computational platform for high-throughput live imaging of gene expression.
Busch W, Moore BT, Martsberger B, Mace DL, Twigg RW, Jung J, Pruteanu-Malinici I, Kennedy SJ, Fricke GK, Clark RL, Ohler U, Benfey PN.
Nat Methods. 2012. 9:1101-6.

Cell identity regulators link development and stress responses in the Arabidopsis root.
Iyer-Pascuzzi AS, Jackson T, Cui H, Petricka JJ, Busch W, Tsukagoshi H, Benfey PN.
Dev Cell. 2011. 21:770-82.

High-resolution experimental and computational profiling of tissue-specific known and novel miRNAs in Arabidopsis.
Breakfield NW, Corcoran DL, Petricka JJ, Shen J, Sae-Seaw J, Rubio-Somoza I, Weigel D, Ohler U, Benfey PN.
Genome Res. 2012. 22:163-76.