Tobias Baskin

Professor, Biology

B.Sc., Yale, 1980
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1986


University of California, Berkeley 1987-1990
Australian National University, 1990-1992

Research Interests

How does a plant make an organ with a specific and heritable shape? This is the question at the heart of research in the Baskin lab. Organ shape is essential for function, as illustrated by leaves, which are thin and flat—ideal for collecting sunlight, or by tendrils, which curl elastically—ideal for grabbing a support. Our work on this problem is in several areas. First, we using developmental genetics, isolating and characterizing mutants, in both Arabidopsis thaliana and Brachypodium distachyon, where the control of root shape has broken down. Second, because we use roots as experimental material, we also study growth in the root, seeking to understand the relationship between division and expansion. Third, because the cell wall plays a starring role in morphogenesis, we also are characterizing its structure with high resolution scanning electron microscopy. Finally, we are collaborating with Lori Goldner (UMass Physics) to use single-molecule, live imaging techniques to investigate the mechanism of cellulose synthesis.

Baskin Lab Website