Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bergmann, Dominique
Location Stanford University
Primary Field Plant Biology
Secondary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Election Citation
Bergmann pioneered the study of the development of stomata, gas exchange apertures on leaves. She identified key regulators and demonstrated their function in controlling the asymmetric cell divisions leading to formation of stomata. She described the BASL gene's role in regulating asymmetric cell division, providing new insight into cell polarity.
 Research Interests
During development, all multicellular organisms face a similar set of challenges: they must create a diverse set of specialized cell types, organize these cells into functional tissues, and maintain pools of stem cells to replenish the tissues throughout their lifetimes. My group uses the development of plant stomata (the epidermal structures that regulate CO2 and water vapor exchange between the plant and atmosphere) as a model to understand how tissues integrate signals from a variety of sources into decisions about cell fate, cell signaling and cell polarity. By incorporating a variety of plants in our studies we found that a core set of conserved regulators underlie stomatal development, and that much of diversity in stomatal forms and patterns we see in nature stems from rewiring of interactions among these core regulators. Stomata also provide a framework to study the fundamental processes of plants at different organizational levels, from molecules and cells to whole plants and ecosystems. Collectively, the activities of billions of stomata on thousands of plant species contribute to global biosphere/atmosphere exchange. In collaboration with ecophysiologists, we have used tools derived from our molecular-scale studies to improve organismal-scale models for photosynthetic activity and provide experimental evidence that evolutionarily conserved stomatal patterns are essential for efficient photosynthesis.

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