Comparative biology

We use many different experimental organisms, because we believe that comparative approaches are critical for uncovering diverse biological mechanisms in nature. The lab started in 1997 with parallel investigation of photoprotection in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and this comparison led to the discovery of major differences in the NPQ mechanisms of these green-lineage organisms. With the advent of low-cost, next-generation DNA sequencing and CRISPR/Cas-based gene editing, we are no longer restricted to a few well-established “model” organisms that have the necessary tools available to study their biology. Now, we can quickly develop the resources and tools that we need to investigate interesting biology in almost any photosynthetic organism.