Prof Ben Scheres
Prof Ben Scheres leads research in Plant Developmental Biology. A winner of the prestigious NWO-Spinoza Prize in 2006, he moved in 2012 to Wageningen University. He is a longstanding collaborator with Prof Jim Murray and Dr Walter Dewitte at Cardiff University, including a joint project within the ERA-NET on Plant Genomics (Integrated Analysis of Stem Cells in Plant Growth and Development). These ongoing collaborations have so far resulted in joint publications:
Tromas A, Braun N, Muller P, Khodus T, Paponov IA, Palme K, Ljung K, Lee JY, Benfey P, Murray JA, Scheres B, Perrot-Rechenmann C. (2009) The AUXIN BINDING PROTEIN 1 is required for differential auxin responses mediating root growth. PLoS One 4(9):e6648.
Cruz-Ramírez A, Díaz-Triviño S, Blilou I, Grieneisen VA, Sozzani R, Zamioudis C, Miskolczi P, Nieuwland J, Benjamins R, Dhonukshe P, Caballero-Pérez J, Horvath B, Long Y, Mähönen AP, Zhang H, Xu J, Murray JA, Benfey PN, Bako L, Marée AF, Scheres B. (2012) A bistable circuit involving SCARECROW-RETINOBLASTOMA integrates cues to inform asymmetric stem cell division. Cell 150(5):1002-15
Scheres' current research seeks to understand how the complex processes of development are integrated and controlled. Currently it focuses on four main areas using the model plant Arabidopsis:
Root development: Using many modern tools in molecular and cellular biology, the Arabidopsis root is an excellent system for the study of pattern formation and architecture. A particular focus has been the control of the stem cell niche, and mechanisms that control asymmetric cell divisions leading to the formation of new cell lineages.
Embryo development: Using mathematical and computer modelling together with developmental biology analysis, research focuses on understanding pattern formation control by the PLETHORA gene network.
Shoot development: The PLETHORA proteins also regulate the correct growth and positioning of organs around the shoot meristem, a process known as phyllotaxis, linking with the control of auxin responses.
Network analysis: Regulatory networks of transcription factors are wired through non-linear circuits. New methods to analyse networks based on information theory and various spatial modelling techniques are used to understand how genes interact to control complex processes in development.