Research – Dr. Ying Li Lab


Towards a systems understanding of plant responses to signals

We are interested in understanding how plants, as sessile organisms, sense, integrate and respond to the environmental and developmental signals for optimal growth. Our unique interests are:

  1. The diversity of regulatory mechanisms of gene expression, including but not limited to epigenetics, transcription factors, and RNA processing.
  2. How genes function as networks
  3. How to best combine statistics and programming with excellent molecular work to derive biological insights
  4. We work on multiple model and crop species including Arabidopsis, petunia, tomato, and maize.

A couple of example questions we look at:

1) Understanding the chromatin regulations of specialized metabolism

The goal is to identify epigenetic regulatory mechanisms that coordinate the specialized metabolic networks, so that plants can produce the right products at the right place and right time for the right audience!

2) Regulation of plant nutrient use

Chemical fertilizer is a blessing but also a curse. How can we best supply nutrients to our plants without damaging our environment? Within this broad goal, we ask if big data approaches could be used to speed up our knowledge on chromatin regulations of plant nitrogen metabolism, and how plants utilize nutrient under the context of climate change.