Sarah Attrill

Research Interests

I want to expand our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms behind how plant cells grow, divide and polarise. Further, how these cellular events can determine tissue morphogenesis and subsequently whole plant development. To investigate this, I enjoy using advanced microscopy and image analysis to localise proteins and subcellular structures throughout plant development. I also combine this with genetics to determine the genes regulating these cellular processes. Cell polarisation is a fundamental process during early organism development. However, the mechanisms underpinning de novo polarisation in land plants are little known. My PhD project aims to understand the role of the cytoskeleton in plant cell polarity using a novel system: the spores of Marchantia polymorpha. These single cells initially lack any polarity but then polarise and divide asymmetrically. By undertaking live time-lapse imaging of fluorescent reporters in spores, I have discovered key subcellular changes during spore polarisation. My research also utilises reverse genetics to tease apart the mechanisms underlying these events. Ultimately my work will uncover fundamental cellular and genetic mechanisms in plant cell polarisation.

I am currently undertaking my research at the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria.