Dr Madeleine Seale

Research Interests

Cell and Developmental Biology


How does water drive changes in plant morphology?

Living organisms require water to survive as it constitutes the basic medium for the chemical reactions within cells. Plants additionally rely on water for maintaining the structural stability of their tissues. While aquatic plants typically have ready access to water, land plants are more prone to desiccation, and must carefully manage the relationship between water, the air that surrounds them, and the land they sit upon.
My research focuses on the biomechanics of these plant-water relationships. Water provides turgor pressure for plant cells, allowing them to remain structurally sound as well as driving cell expansion. This hydrostatic pressure is resisted by the cellulose-based cell wall that surrounds all plant cells. When plants dry out and lose water, cell walls eventually collapse and structural integrity is lost. My work addresses how mechanical forces affect plant structure and the properties of cell walls during growth and dehydration. To do this I am developing methodology to measure forces exerted by plant cells and understand how these relate to both morphogenesis and dehydration-induced deformation.
These studies use two model bryophytes, which vary in growth habit and tolerance to dehydration: the moss Physcomitrella patens and the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. These systems conveniently allow the study of both single cells and multicellular tissues and are amenable for imaging and genetic studies. Using multidisciplinary approaches from biology, physics and material science, this work establishes a framework to understand how plants survive on land where water supply is frequently highly variable.

  • Callose Deposition during Pollen Development.

  • Hot on the Trail of DREB2A Protein Stability.

  • Cell Wall Remodeling during Wood Development.

  • From passive to informed: mechanical mechanisms of seed dispersal

  • Moisture-dependent morphing tunes the dispersal of dandelion diaspores

  • A separated vortex ring underlies the flight of the dandelion

  • Design principles of hair-like structures as biological machines

  • BRC1expression regulates bud activation potential but is not necessary or sufficient for bud growth inhibition inArabidopsis

  • More