Arunika Nishanthi Gunawardena

Post – Doctoral Research Fellow; homepage


Research interest

Programmed cell death (PCD) has been observed in various developmental processes in plants such as tracheary element differentiation, root cap shedding, androgenesis, leaf senescence, aerenchyma formation etc. PCD also appears to play an important role in leaf development in species with perforated leaves, although almost nothing is known about this process. Therefore, I am interested in looking at whether cell death pattern during formation of perforations is a form of PCD or not. In my study Monstera obliqua and Aponogeton madagascariensis have been selected as model systems.

Julie Kang PhD student

Research interest

My research focuses on the role of cell cycling during vascular development in shoots and leaves of Arabidopsis.  Using a cyclin1At::GUS construct, I have been able to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of cell cycling in adult wild type leaves.  This pattern correlates almost exactly to that of the ATHB-8::GUS construct, which is an early marker of procambial strand formation.  ATHB-8::GUS was also used as a marker to determine shoot vascular architecture in wild type plants during vegetative and early and late flowering stages of development.  I am currently studying two mutants to determine how suppression of cell cycling affects the radial and longitudinal vascular pattern in leaves of Arabidopsis.

Riyadh Muhaidat PhD student; homepage

Research interest

My PhD research interests focus on pieces of the structure- function relationship in interesting taxa of C4 dicots in which the syndrome has independently evolved. In contrast to grasses in which the syndrome has evolved in three main biochemical subtypes (NADP-ME; NAD-ME; PEP-CK), only two (NADP-ME and NAD-ME) have been identified in dicotyledonous species of examined so far. I am characterizing the biochemistry of selected groups of C4 dicots that have not yet been well studied. In addition, I am searching for anatomical criteria that distinguish the subtypes from each other and/or to subtype C4 dicot species based on anatomical screens, hence the chloroplasts have a centripetal position in both subtypes. Convergence of Kranz anatomy between C4 species of Haloxylon (Chenopodiaceae) and Calligonum (Polygonaceae) is my current research question underway.

Athena McKown PhD student

Research interest

I am currently investigating the development and evolution of vein pattern in C4 dicots. The development of venation in leaves has many implications on evolution. Currently, the mechanisms by which C4 species have altered their vein pattern to allow C4 biochemistry to function from the C3 progenitor pattern is unknown. I am using Flaveria (Asteraceae) as my model organism, as this genus possesses species that are classified as strict C3 and C4, as well as intermediate species; C3-C4 and C4-like.

Reynald Tremblay undergraduate student; homepage


Research interest

I am an undergraduate student and working on a 4th year research project focusing on heteroblastic variation in leaf vein pattern in Arabidopsis. I am comparing the development of vein density in juvenile, adult rosette and cauline leaves using a genetic marker for early expression of procambium (ATHB-8) in wild-type Arabidopsis and also comparing vein pattern in a number of Arabidopsis mutants. I am interested in vein pattern plasticity to altered light quantity and quality, and in the relationship between leaf shape and vein pattern.

Ada Wong undergraduate student


Research interest

I am a 4th year botany undergraduate student and working as a lab assistant in the Dengler lab. This summer, I completed a 4th year research project titled “The convergence of Kranz anatomy in photosynthetic stems of Haloxlyon (Chenopodiaceae) and Calligonum (Polygonaceae) species.” This work is related to the PhD project of Riyadh Muhaidat.

Dengler lab main page

Dr. Nancy Dengler


Department of Botany

Plant Anatomy Photos