Dr Angharad Jones
My research is related to the role and regulation of cellular processes such as growth and division during plant development. I am interested in how these processes are co-ordinated across many cells to produce patterns and structures that are visible at higher levels of organisation.
I graduated in Biology from the University of York in 2004. During my undergraduate study I became interested in plant development and carried out a research project in the group of Prof. Ottoline Leyser on the regulation of shoot branching in snapdragon. I was then awarded a BBSRC PhD studentship at the University of Bristol to work under the supervision of Prof. Claire Grierson and Dr Colin Lazarus investigating the roles of auxin in the regulation of root-hair development. Following my PhD in 2009, I was awarded funding from the University of Bristol Lady Emily Smyth Agricultural Research Station to follow up work stemming from my PhD and also received a Royal Society Travel Grant to visit the lab of Prof. Jiřί Friml. I moved to Cardiff University in 2010 joining the group of Prof. Jim Murray. In 2013 I was appointed to the Independent Researcher Secondment Scheme.
Cell Growth and Division in the Shoot Apical Meristem
The shoot apical mersitem produces all of the above-ground organs of the plant. At the centre of the structure is a group of cells, the stem cells, that remain undifferentiated and grow and divide slowly. In the region surrounding stem cells, growth and division are more rapid and cells begin to receive signals to differentiate. In contrast to the uniform growth that is seen in the central zone, which maintains an evenly domed structure, the tissue of the peripheral zone grows heterogeneously and bumps that are the beginnings of new organs are formed. I am interested in whether the changes in shape we see in the tissue of the peripheral zone as organs start to develop can be explained by the decisions that individual cells make between growth and division.
Using confocal microscopy to make time-lapse movies, I am studying cell growth and division during the formation of floral organs in detail. I am developing a system based on the combination of different fluorescent reporter proteins that allows the progression of the cell cycle to be monitored in living cells. Using these reporters the lengths of the different phases of the cell cycle can be measured and correlated with other behaviour such as growth.
Regulation of Root-hair Length by Auxin Transport
Root-hair cells are a specialised cell type found in the root epidermis. They develop alongside non-hair cells, which are specialised for different functions. While working at the University of Bristol with Prof. Claire Grierson and Dr. Colin Lazarus, I mapped the location of auxin transporters in the developing root epidermis using fluorescent protein reporters and identified that hair and non-hair cells have different auxin-transport capacities. This data was used to produce a computational model of auxin flow, which we then used to predict how changes to the pattern of epidermal cell types would affect the length of root hairs produced. This work showed that in Arabidopsis thaliana, non-hair cells are required to channel auxin to developing hair cells and sustain their growth. This work was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Eric Kramer (Bard College, Simon's Rock), Prof. Malcolm Bennett (University of Nottingham) and Prof. Ottoline Leyser (University of York).