Research Summary

Research in the Sieburth lab uses genetic approaches to discover fundamental aspects of cell and developmental biology. Our research led us to discover a signaling pathway that coordinates shoot development with conditions perceived by the root, and is currently leading to the discovery of a new plant hormone. Our research also addresses how mRNA decay contributes to the control of gene expression, and led us to discover an mRNA decay pathway that causes fetal lethality when mutant in humans.

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, PH D, University Of Georgia
  • Bachelor of Arts, BA, Humboldt State University
  • Bachelor of Science, BS, Humboldt State University

Biography

Leslie Sieburth’s research program is rooted in her fascination with the diversity of plant form, and especially plant leaves.  To identify pathways that were important for normal leaf development, her lab used Arabidopsis to carry out a screen for mutants that were unable to produce normal leaves.   Subsequent genetic and molecular characterization of these mutants led to identification of several pathways, and current research focuses on cytoplasmic mRNA decay and root-to-shoot signaling.  In both areas, this research has identified novel pathways.  The root-to-shoot signaling project has revealed the presence of a novel plant hormone that is produced in plant roots, moves to the shoot, and regulates growth.  The cytoplasmic mRNA decay project has led to identification of a protein that is a central scaffold of the mRNA decay complex, and a 3’-to-5’ decay pathway (SOV/DIS3L2) that is especially important in animal cells.   

Leslie Sieburth received her PhD in 1990 from the University of Georgia’s Botany Department.  Her PhD research focused on regulation of chloroplast gene expression.  She then went to the California Institute of Technology for a postdoc with Elliot Meyerowitz, where her work focused on flower development in Arabidopsis thaliana.  In 1994, Leslie took a tenure track position with the Biology Department of McGill University (Montreal, QC, Canada), and then moved to the Department of Biology at the University of Utah in 1999.