Current and past lab members

What are we working on?

BRIC 17/T.O.A.S.T analysis


Simon's Space Place video on biology in space

Recent publications from the lab

Useful sites

movies, some science, some fun, some both

Lab vices

address etc.




What happens when you release an undergraduate student (Scott Klasek) with an interest in plant movements and a background in music? Plant biology music videos!

This is some fun with the response of the carniverous plant Dionea muscipula, the venus flytrap, and the Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein.
What happens when a root growing downwards hits a barrier to its growth? This is a root of Arabidosis thaliana (mouse eared cress) growing in a petri dish into which we have inserted a glass barrier. Time lapsed over 12hrs.

For research into this response see: Massa and Gilroy (2003) The Plant Journal 33: 345-445
Maize root just growing down.

This nicely shows how dynamic root growth is. The root is pushing its way down through the soil and as it grows it develops many root hairs on the surface to increase its surface area and so its water and nutrient absorbing capacity.
Root cap of an Arabidopsis root growing down. This shows how dynamic the cells of the root cap are. The cells contain starch filled amyloplasts that are in constant motion as the root grows. These amyloplasts are part of the gravity sensing machinery of the root.

For research into this response see: Blancaflor et al. (1998) Plant Physiology 116: 213

Simon's ExtraNormal Science
How does a plant move liquid throughout its body without a heart? Plants move water through themselves by sucking (the xylem) and blowing (phloem). But how can you do this without a pump like a heart?
What is a meristem? How do plants make new branches again and again? Why can you mow the lawn but not kill the grass? These are not mysteries, they are meristems!.......
What happens when the lights go out? How do plants survive when it is dark? Seedlings know can monitor the quantity and quality of light and respond appropriately. Oh and Zoltar lord of destruction can turn out the lights on mankind......
How do plants harvest the energy in light? Ask the weatherman - but don’t expect an exact answer.....
Why do you have to water your plants? Like all of biology, plants are dependent on water - but why?
Gravitropism explained
Ever wondered about the molecular machinery that helps plants sense the direction of gravity and respond by sending shoots up and roots down? Well it’s explained here in excruciating detail....
Captain Arabidopsis explains totipotency, cloning and the replace/regenerate lifestyle strategy of plants whilst simultaneously rescuing his trusted sidekick Broccoli Boy
Captain Arabidopsis explains the difference between annual and perennial lifestyles of plants
Captain Arabidopsis explains the power of model systems in biology and why we work on Arabidopsis thaliana