Unlike animals, plants neither have specific organs that see or hear various stimuli, yet, plants are sensitive to their surrounding environment and modify their development according to various external signals. My lab studies how the environment of a plant modulates its growth and development. Understanding environmental control of growth will have far-reaching implications for agriculture, energy production, and many other human activities.
Plants and animals interact with their environment. Since plants are incapable to move around, they are sensitive to their surrounding environment and modify their development according to external signals. Plants face variability in growth conditions – temperature, light quality and quantity, herbivores, pathogens, water availability etc. Yet, plants respond to these biotic and abiotic factors and survive substantial fluctuations in its environment. Plants also must balance the range of potential threats and benefits confronting it and should make appropriate decisions on resource allocation. Such adaptability is essential for the sessile nature of the plants. The mechanisms that underlie this adaptability likely involve complex signaling to generate the appropriate response. In some adaptive responses, for example, when the plants have to cope with climate change and increased competition for light, there is a decrease in productivity (yield, biomass) as the plant relocates resources to better adapt.
The Pedmale Lab’s research goals seek to determine the mechanisms behind how a plant perceives and successfully adapts to its environment. We also aim to understand how a plant must integrate intrinsic and extrinsic cues and ‘decide’ how best to respond to environmental cues. Understanding how plants deal with, and respond to a multitude of environmental signals could help to develop crops that cope with unfavorable growth conditions without significant changes in yield.
A healthy use for tobacco in coronavirus research
February 11, 2021
CSHL plant scientists grew fragments of coronavirus proteins in tobacco. They hoped to provide a cheap source of protein for virus and vaccine researchers.
Coronavirus research in plants
May 15, 2020
Purified coronavirus proteins are in short supply for COVID-19 researchers, so CSHL plant scientists are jumping in to make them.
Event: Cocktails & Chromosomes
August 8, 2019
Join us for the next edition of Cocktails & Chromosomes, featuring CSHL scientist Ullas Pedmale, Ph.D., an assistant professor working on how plants see and sense their neighbors.
An essay from the President: Biology for the planet
May 16, 2019
CSHL plant scientists are looking for solutions to the biggest questions in agriculture as environments are reshaped by climate change.
How do plants sense their environment?
April 30, 2019
CSHL plant scientist Ullas Pedmale details how plants sense the world we share.
How do plants know when to flower?
May 18, 2018
Colorful flowers are a sure sign of spring. But how do flowering plants know that it is time to bloom?
Light, cryptochromes, action…
November 21, 2017
Assistant Professor Ullas Pedmale has received the National Institutes of Health "Outstanding Investigator Award."