From neural networks to forest landscapes, living systems generate functional, ordered and beautiful patterns shaped by the interactions among the components—from molecules, cells, and whole organisms to the ecosystem. Our research aims at elucidating how cells interact with each other to self-organize functional patterns during development of higher plants. During these events, stem cells are created, maintained, and differentiate according to positional cues and influenced by multiple environmental stimuli.
To address these fundamental questions, we study patterning and differentiation of stomata as a model. Stomata are small valves serving as an interface between plants and atmosphere, and their presence is essential for plant survival and our global environment. We revealed that intricate cell-cell communications mediated by small chemical signals influence the pattern of stem cell divisions and fate specification. We aim to elucidate how functional tissue patterns are generated using cross-disciplinary approaches.