Leader's Message

In this project, entitled "Periodicity and its Modulation in Plants", we collaborate to elucidate how plants use intrinsic periodicity and its modulation to gain specific morphology and growth dynamics. In this 5-year collaborative framework, we aim to make further advances in plant developmental biology, which is a field in which Japanese researchers have been making a great contribution to the international research community.

Over the past decades, tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying plant development. This is mainly due to the rise of molecular genetics and genome biology with model plant species in the 1990’s, as well as the revolutionary improvement of live imaging and omics technologies in more recent years. Following these trends, the principal researchers of this project have been eagerly investigating novel principles in plant development, while researchers of the next generation have been exploring unique fields utilizing even newer technologies.

Owing to the astounding progress of optical and computational technologies, plant developmental biologists are now using large-scale digital data, which are so large and complex that significant values can sometimes go unnoticed by even the data collectors themselves. Thus, for fundamental biological studies to continue into the future, the skill of extracting novel phenomena and new questions from large-scale data is crucial.

In this project, plant developmental biologists, mathematical biologists, and information scientists work together to address the central question of how plants use intrinsic periodicity and its modulation to achieve a specific morphology and growth plasticity. In parallel, we aim to establish novel interdisciplinary collaboration that is transferrable to other fields of biology. We intend to create novel data-acquisition and data-presentation tools to aid biological studies.

Success of this project certainly depends on the research activities of the participating groups, but that is not all. On behalf of the founding members of the project, I would like to ask for the continuous support and advice from members of the evaluation committee, MEXT and JSPS staff, and everyone who is interested in our research.

Professor, Graduate School of Science and Technology
Nara Institute of Science and Technology

Keiji Nakajima