Center for Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB) at UC Riverside

Uploaded by ucriverside on 26.04.2012

In the next few years population, human population, will be more than
nine billion. Now we have five billion people on this planet.
So it is the necessary to figure out how to feed,
how to clothe,
how to house this number, huge number of people and preserve
wilderness. The only way how this is possible
is to use ingenuity in
science and technology, so that's why the ascent of plant cell biology
is important.
One of the goals we have right now is to produce,
within the next twenty-five to thirty years, twice as much food for our
world. The quests that we really had was on one hand to provide farmers with
submergence tolerant rice, but on the other hand to understand the actual molecular
mechanism that provides submergence tolerance. This is a really beautiful example
of how we can go from the cell
and the gene all the way to the plant breeder and to the farmer. Where are we
now? Do we have to some new varieties of submergence tolerant rice?
And the answer is yes.
Some of the most devastating plant pathogens are fungi,
and in terms of human health, there is a certain species of fungi that cause
infections in humans, particular immunocompromised patients. The goal of my
research is to find or identify
proteins that are required for infection or causing disease,
and to use these as targets for antifungal agents. So for the first time
we can go into a filamentous fungus and mutate every gene
remove each one one at a time. I think the results will be far reaching though to
be applied to the plant and animal pathogens.
The tiny RNAs, the small RNAs,
that we are now studying, they are regulatory molecules. They act in almost all
aspects of
organisms' physiology and development.
The absence of these small RNAs would cause diseases and even death.
My group
does work on small RNA methylation
was also found to be universal in multicelular organisms.
So once we understand the mechanisms of small RNAs, we could harness the power of
small RNAs to treat human diseases.
My lab in particular is looking
into both chemical and genetic approaches to
a plant's ability to grow under, with less water. Unless we develop
the crops and the farming practices
for sustainable agriculture,
we're in big trouble longer term.
And we already see the consequences of deficiencies in agriculture and
developing nations where
people go hungry.
That's how it's all interconnected,
and that's why it's so exciting, because it's one chain, we're all in all of
this together