Assistant Professor, Biology Department, UMass Amherst
Curator, UMass Natural History Collections Living Plant Collection
My lab is focused on figuring out the molecular biology underlying the evolution of plant development. I am particularly intrigued by floral development, and the evolution of the genes and gene networks that underly floral morphology.
Amanda Schrager Lavelle
I have always been interested in the genetics and molecular biology that underlie plant development. I received my PhD from UC Davis where I completed my dissertation research on shade avoidance and internode elongation in tomato in the lab of Dr. Julin Maloof. In the Bartlett lab I am interested in further understanding the evolution of gene regulation through a project on the protein-protein interactions between the B-class MADS box transcription factors in the grasses.
About 10% of angiosperms have some form of monoecy (separated male and female flowers on the same individual) or dioecy (male and female flowers on different individuals). Floral sexuality is particularly diverse in the grasses, where I am interested in discovering how sex determination is regulated at a molecular level. In particular, I am studying the genetics of the development of monoecious flowers in maize.
I study the genetics of meristem development in maize, and how meristems give rise to mature plant organs. As a domesticated crop, maize can also provide insight into the human influence on plant evolution. Insights into these problems will support further understanding of developmental pathways, genetic networks, and evolution, and could be used to support crop improvement efforts.
After working as an undergraduate in the Bartlett lab, I decided to complete my MSc in the lab, starting in Fall 2016. I am working on a mutant of maize that has floral organ identity defects, extra floral organs, and defects in spikelet development. This work will shed light on the processes that control development of the highly specialized grass flower.
Interested in joining the lab?
If you're interesting in joining the lab as a grad student, consider applying through the plant biology, molecular and cellular biology, or organismal and evolutionary biology graduate programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. If you're a postdoc or an undergraduate wanting to work in the Bartlett lab, please get in touch via email.