Ever wondered how plant cells talk to each other? Plant developmental biologist Dr. Keiko Torii has! And last week we got to meet her and hear her talk to us about how they do it.

Plants can only get their beautiful final shapes if their cells coordinate with one another to make this happen. To get at the mechanisms, she looks at how stomata form - stomata are openings plants use to breathe and her lab studies how they come to be to better understand how all the plants parts get made.

Torii was born in Japan and raised in Yokohama, Japan and Scarsdale, New York. She received a PhD from the University of Tsukuba, Japan and is currently a Professor of biology at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. She is also affiliated with the World Premier Research Initiative in Nagoya University, Japan and is an HHMI investigator.

She visited Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) last week to give a seminar about her work and was gracious enough to meet with WiSE-Rs for breakfast. Over breakfast, she answered questions and provided great insight into gender dynamics in science in the US and Japan. You can learn more about this in an interview she did for the journal Current Biology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.032

Photo: Jose Mandojana

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