Michelle Facette

photo of Michelle Facette

Assistant Professor, Biology


2008 Stanford University, Stanford, USA
Ph.D. Department of Biological Sciences

1998 Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Honours Bachelor’s of Science, Department of Biology

Research Area: Cell and Developmental Biology, Genomics and Genetics, Plant Environment Interactions
Field of Study: Cell polarization and asymmetric cell division; cytoskeletal regulation; cellular physiology
Office: Morrill IV S, 375D

The Facette lab studies the cellular mechanisms of asymmetric cell division in plant cells. We investigate molecules that promote the initial polarization of cells, molecules required to maintain polarity in the cell, and molecules required to correctly execute the division. This process is orchestrated by a number of processes including cell communication, cell signaling, organelle movements, and the cytoskeleton. We investigate these processes using microscopy (immunofluorescence and live cell imaging), protein biochemistry (functional binding assays, mass spectrometry) and both forward and reverse genetics. We perform these studies in plants, primarily using maize as a model system. Using this complex multicellular organism, we study the developmental relevance of asymmetric division. We are especially interested in the asymmetric divisions that form stomata (small pores in the leaf that facilitate plant “breathing”). Recently, we have started using comparative genomic approaches to investigate the cellular function of the specialized cells that form the stomata after division has completed.

The Facette lab will also use a variety of core facilities including the light microscopy core, mass spectrometry core, and genomics core.