About the Goldberg Lab

The Goldberg laboratory has been investigating the molecular processes controlling the development of specialized cells in higher plants since Dr. Goldberg's arrival at UCLA in 1976. The major questions addressed in our research are (1) how are genes organized in the genome, (2) what are the mechanisms that control the regulation of plant gene expression, (3) what are the sequences that program plant gene expression during development, (4) what are the genes that control the differentiation of specific plant cell types, and (5) what events cause an undifferentiated cell to take on a specialized state. The focus of our research has been on cells that are involved in plant reproductive processes (e.g., embryonic cells, cells of the male reproductive organ). We have used a variety of approaches and model plants to answer these questions -- always using the plant and approach best-suited to answer a specific question. Approaches include the use of molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics. Historically, we have used a variety of different plant systems, because there is not an ideal plant to investigate all questions of plant development and molecular biology and because approaches, techniques, and knowledge have changed over the years enabling a model plant, such as Arabidopsis, to take "center stage" at the present time. Plants that we have utilized for our experiments include (1) tobacco for molecular studies on plant organ systems and seeds, and as a transgenic plant to dissect gene control elements, (2) soybean, an economically-important crop, for investigating seed and embryo development, (3) canola, an economically-important crop, used as a model to genetically engineer for male fertility control, (4) Arabidopsis as a model plant for the genetic dissection of male reproduction and seed development, and, most recently, (5) Scarlet Runner Bean because it has "giant" embryos that are well-suited for using genomics to investigate the earliest stages of plant development. Currently, our laboratory uses the Scarlet Runner Bean, Arabidopsis, and tobacco to investigate seed development.