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Marcela Rojas-Pierce

Associate Professor

Associate Dept Head


Partners Building III 227


Area(s) of Expertise

Cell Biology, Vesicle Trafficking, Vacuole Biogenesis

The vacuole is the major storage compartment in plant cells and has important implications for the nutritional value of agricultural crops. Our research is focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms that regulate the biogenesis of the vacuole and the delivery of tonoplast proteins to the vacuolar membrane. We use chemical and classical genetic approaches to characterize these mechanisms in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Plant vacuoles have additional functions in growth and development. Dynamics of vacuole fusion are also important for critical physiological functions such as the regulation of stomata closing during water deficit and gravitropism. Our lab is starting to elucidate molecular mechanisms of vacuole dynamics that may contribute to responses of plants to these environmental cues.

Courses Taught:

  • PB 414 Cell Biology (Spring)
  • PB 780 Plant Molecular Biology (Fall)


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Ph.D., Botany, University of California (2003)
B.S., Biology, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia (1997)