Caltech Geneticist to Give Noel T. Keen Lecture

Elliot Meyerowitz studies the genetics of flowering plants

Photo shows Elliot Meyerowitz.

Elliot Meyerowitz is the George Beadle Professor of Biology at Caltech.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Elliot Meyerowitz, the George Beadle Professor of Biology at Caltech and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, will give the 11th Noel T. Keen Lecture today at the University of California, Riverside.

The lecture begins at 4:10 p.m. in the auditorium of the Genomics Building, and is part of a daylong symposium hosted by the Center for Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB).

The title of Meyerowitz’s lecture is “Tissue Mechanics and in a Plant Stem Cell Niche Signaling and Morphogenesis Tissue Shape Control Cell-Cell.”

Meyerowitz has been a member of the Caltech faculty since 1980.  In 2011 and 2012, while on leave from Caltech, he served as the inaugural director of the new Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge University. From 2000 to 2010 he was the chair of the Caltech Division of Biology.

His laboratory studies the genetics of flowering plants, especially the small laboratory plant Arabidopsis thaliana. His lab was the first to popularize the use of this model system for molecular genetics, and the first laboratory to clone or sequence an Arabidopsis gene.

The Meyerowitz laboratory identified and cloned numerous flower development genes, leading to the “ABC Model” of floral organ specification. They were also the first to clone a plant hormone receptor, thereby explaining how plants respond to the stress hormone ethylene. Their current work combines studies of gene expression and cell division patterns in shoot apical meristems with computational and mathematical modeling, as a way of understanding and modeling the dynamics of plant growth.

CEPCEB’s annual symposium, which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., includes a variety of innovative speakers and an award ceremony to recognize the research accomplishments of a stellar students and postdoctoral researchers.  Topics include transposable elements, synthetic molecular clocks, computational epigenetics and chemical biology software.

The Noel T. Keen Lecture is named after one of the first supporters and members of CEPCEB, who passed away in April 2002.  Keen spent his entire academic career at UCR. He joined the UCR community in 1968.  He earned a stellar reputation with research that examined how plants recognize disease agents or pests, a trait that can be implanted in other crop varieties to boost food supplies. Along with two former UCR biochemists, Keen discovered a new bacterial enzyme responsible for rot in potatoes, tomatoes, apples and tropical plants.

Media Contact

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Additional Contacts

Jocelyn Brimo, CEPCEB
Tel: (951) 827-2152

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