The Braybrook Group at UCLA studies the generation of form in walled organisms.
We follow questions of form that capture our minds and hearts and wield quantitative tools to craft new hypotheses about our world. This means we apply and develop quantitative methods, utilise the best biological system to answer our question, and constantly look both forwards and backwards to identify key concepts and tools in the field. We are dynamic, just like our systems!
In all organisms, the growing of a shape is a complex process requiring specific gene products, signaling, mechanical alterations, and coordination of cell growth. Our Team addresses this fundamental process in biology using a multidisciplinary approach including: plant physiology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, materials science, and physics. We focus on understanding how shapes are generated in walled organisms: plants and alage.
For a plant and algal cells, the cell wall is the main structural element, controlling shape and growth of the cell and therefore tissue as a whole. Recent work in plants has correlated key aspects of organ growth and shape generation, in plants, with mechanical properties of tissues and cell walls. Our Team has two main goals: 1) to understand the mechanics of shape growth in plants and algae, and 2) to understand the cell wall as a dynamic composite material.