Click the image below for our project with plants in space: Proteomic Analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity

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The goal of research in the Luesse lab is to better understand the molecular processes that allow plants to sense and respond to the world around them. This involves both the mechanism used to determine the environmental conditions as well as the molecular basis of the signals that cells use to communicate that information. This work primarily focuses on gravitropism, which is the bending of a plant organ in response to a change in the direction of gravity. We accomplish this through a variety of approaches using genetics, microscopy, bioinformatics, plant physiology, genetic engineering, and molecular biology in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress). While almost all aspects of plant development are guided by the direction of gravity, changes in growth patterns can be quickly and easily measured in roots, hypocotyls, and inflorescence stems, making them an excellent system for study. The Luesse lab endeavors to understand the molecular and cellular processes behind these changes in growth, and the signal transduction cascades that mediate the process. We've also been studying an Arabidopsis line with a point mutation in geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase 1 (ggps1-1). This line shows a distinct variegated phenotype with pale sectors located in the center of leaves.



The ggps1-1 mutant

                        Lab T-Shirt Design - 2009-2010

Overlay of over 200 images tracking circumnutation in an Arabidopsis inflorescence stem

(Photo compilation by Mike Buzzard)


  • Looking for a research opportunity? Send Dr. Luesse an email, or stop by his office.

  • Looking for a research opportunity in Plant Molecular Biology and Physiology to increase your chances of getting a job at Monsanto, Dow, or one of the other biotech companies in the St. Louis area? Perfect!

  • Looking for a research opportunity, but think plants are more boring than rocks? No Problem! The beauty of molecular biology is that after you get your DNA in a tube, it's all the same! In the Luesse lab you can gain experience in the areas of cell biology, genetics, fluorescence and light microscopy, bioinformatics (it's more important than you think!), recombinant DNA technology and molecular biology. You also get to practice critical thinking, which is an essential skill no matter what area of research you pursue.



Dr. Darron R. Luesse

Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Office: 1125 Science Lab Building West

Lab: 1020 Science Lab Building West

Phone: (618)650-2153




Box 1651

Southern Illinois University

Edwardsville, IL 62025



Email Darron



Luesse Lab Photo - April 2016